Black Music Matters Festival

Mel Tillis

Southern Rain – 2008 (Collector's Choice)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Mel Tillis

Collector's Choice Music released three previously out-of-print Mel Tillis Elektra Records albums at the same time. "Southern Rain," "Your Body Is an Outlaw" and "Me and Pepper" all date back to Tillis' 1979-82 period and contain plenty of fine Tillis singing.

The finest CD in this trio is "Southern Rain." Although its title track also represents Tillis' last number one country hit, it's not the disc's best song. Far better is "Here's Lookin' at You" by Sandy Pinkard (one half of comedy duo, Pinkard & Bowden), which opens with these great words: "When the light from beer sign shines on your face/It shines on your wedding ring, too." "Pyramid of Cans" offers another witty country sentiment. People have long ascribed mystical powers to Egypt's pyramids, but Tills admits, "The power of the pyramid, I don't understand." But in his case, these pyramids are constructed of stacked beer cans, instead of massive stones, where alcohol has taken complete control since his girl left. Lastly, "Time Has Treated You Well" stands out for its Waylon Jennings-like production bounce.