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Leona Williams

New Patches – 2008 (Heart of Texas)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Leona Williams

Best known for her collaborations with then husband Merle Haggard in the late '70's and early '80s, this release from Leona Williams shows her in fine form. Williams wrote or co-wrote 5 of the 12 songs, including I'm Too Good To Be Better Than Nothing Again , in which the singer rejects life as the other woman, and He's On My Mind Again , a weeper in the tradition of George Jones' She Thinks I Still Care . Jones is an obvious influence as Williams salutes him with a cover of Dave Kirby's Ole George, and included a quote from Jones in her liner notes proclaiming Williams "the greatest female country singer that has ever stepped up to a microphone."

Other highlights are Hank Williams' I Can't Help It , and a cover of Joe Allen's Manhattan, Kansas (recorded by Loretta Lynn in 1972), the tale of a young woman shunned for an out of wedlock pregnancy on which Williams duets with daughter Cathy Lee.

With Williams' strong vocals and a nice selection of authentic classic country tunes, this is a strong effort.