The Essential Connie Smith (RCA, 1996)
Reviewed by Don Yates
Connie Smith deserves to be ranked with Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton as one of the great female vocalists of 1960's Nashville. As a pure singer, she's technically superior to all of them, with a powerful sobbing voice that sounded like her heart was being ripped from her body every time she sang. This CD sticks with the hits (with the exception of the closing hymn, "How Great Thou Art"). As a greatest hits collection, it's not bad, but Smith deserves better. Not only is her hit version of Dallas Frazier's "Where Is My Castle" inexplicably omitted (it could very well have been Smith's theme song), but many of her album tracks were the equal of the hits and also deserve to be heard. Typical for their so-called "Essential" series, RCA just threw together a bunch of her biggest hits and some lightweight notes that provide little insight into the power of Smith's music. Still, classic Connie on CD is a special event, and even though her former label should be doing a helluva lot more, it's one worth celebrating.
CDs by Connie Smith