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Jimmy Fortune

When One Door Closes – 2003 (Audium)

Reviewed by Tom Netherland

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CDs by Jimmy Fortune

Virginia's Statler Brothers carved quite a niche for themselves. So much so that when they announced that last year would be their last as a touring outfit, it might have been hard to imagine one of them going solo. But that's exactly what Jimmy Fortune has done. With this, the Statlers' longtime tenor singer steps into the spotlight with his first solo album. Some things are different from is days with Harold, Phil and Don. Most are not.

For example, Fortune resurrects several hits that he wrote from his Statler Brothers days. Most noticeable among them was, "Elizabeth," perhaps Fortune's finest moment as a Statler Brother. However, those familiar and fond of the Statlers' 1984 version may be disappointed with this one. No amount of backing vocalists can match what Don Reid, Harold Reid and Phil Balsley offered by way of backing on the song. Likewise, Fortune's resurrection of "More than a Name on the Wall" lacks the grandeur of its original recording. Perhaps it's only natural, but Fortune's otherwise pristine voice sounds alone, missing something.

There are some successes. Fortune's turn on Rodney Crowell's "'Til I Gain Control" represents a match well made of vocals with lyrics. But too often Fortune's debut falls flat.