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Kathy Robertson

To Roy Nichols With Love – 1997 (Cowgirl)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Kathy Robertson

As lead guitarist with Wynn Stewart, and then with Merle Haggard's Strangers, Roy Nichols could easily be considered the architect of the Bakersfield Sound. He suffered a stroke earlier this year, and a bunch of his friends got together to create this fund-raiser album on his behalf.

The good news is that you don't have to be in a charitable mood to want a copy. Kathy Robertson, a fine classic country singer, put together this project, and sings on every track, sometimes in duet. Bonnie Owens, ex-wife of both Buck Owens and Haggard, is along to help out and contribute some previously unheard songs. Many tunes are Haggard or Buck cuts (many co-written by Owens) but mostly fairly obscure numbers. Others helping out include Rosie Flores, James Intveld, The Derailers, Albert Lee and some members of The Strangers.

Much of this album could pass as authentic sixties recordings, and even the more modern sounding tracks fit a natural evolution. For those who love the Bakersfield Sound, this is the real deal. (Available for $15 from Cowgirl Records, 1977 Yale St., Ontario, CA 91764)