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Charley Pride

Music in My Heart – 2017 (Music City)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Charley Pride

Charley Pride shows with "Music In My Heart" that he is still in fine voice at the age of 79 with this collection of mostly obscure covers. The most recognizable are effective takes on Merle Haggard's "That's The Way It Was In '51" and the Tommy Collins penned "New Patches" most notably recorded by Mel Tillis and George Jones.

Pride prominently represents the acclaimed though underappreciated Canadian group the Mercey Brothers. Amongst the strongest tracks are "You're Still In These Crazy Arms Of Mine" and "The Same Eyes That Always Drove Me Crazy." Other highlights are a pair of compositions from "Country" Johnny Mathis (not to be confused with the pop singer) with the title track and "Make Me One More Memory," and Bill Anderson's "You Lied To Me" (recorded by Charlie Walker in 1967).

Pride's most passionate vocal is on the ballad "Natural Feeling For You," co-written by Ben Peters who supplied Pride with hits such as "Kiss An Angel Good Morning" and "Burgers and Fries." Less effective are several tunes co-written by producer Billy Yates, in particular the cliche laden "All By My Lonesome."

Pride's smooth vocals are nicely supported throughout by Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Scotty Sanders (steel guitar, Dobro), J.T. Corenflos (electric guitar), Larry Beaird (acoustic guitar), Eli Beaird (bass), Steve Nathan (keyboards) and Eddie Bayers (drums) with additional steel guitar contributions from Robbie Turner and Mike Johnson. With "Music In My Heart," Charley Pride remains one of the finest pure country singers around after more than a half century in music.