Look Who's Blue

by: Don Gibson

Don Gibson' s second album titled Look Who's Blue (one was released in 1960, as well) effectively shows his pop instincts and essentially keeps to a straight country format. There aren't a lot of surprises here -- just quality songs (written by Gibson, Eddy Raven, Lorrie Morgan, and others), expertly sung and played. Truly the king of the crossover country singers, Gibson makes it all sound so easy. Whereas followers like Ronnie Milsap and Kenny Rogers are pop or country singers depending on the particular song being sung, Don Gibson has a voice that sounds inherently stone-cold country, but is just smooth and unaffected enough to appeal to a wider audience. At times sounding like a subtler combination of George Jones and country-era Jerry Lee Lewis, he attacks each song on the album with sincerity and flawless phrasing throughout. As always, the joys of Don Gibson come from repeated listenings -- his artistry, like that of Waylon Jennings, is of the kind that speaks not just to drunken nights and hung-over mornings, but to a deeper existential loneliness only fully comprehended in quieter moments. Not surprisingly, the only misstep here is the one pure pop song, the Burt Bacharach standard "Any Day Now," which was later an international smash for Milsap. While Gibson's performance is beautifully and darkly bitter, the Nashville session cats (Grady Martin, Buddy Emmons) are unusually stilted, which causes the song to stick out like a sore thumb among the other, more relaxed tracks. ~ Pemberton Roach

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