Dick Curless

Traveling Through – 1995 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

Dick Curless, born in Maine and raised in Massachusetts, had a string of hits in the 1960's, the biggest of which, the truck-driving anthem "A Tombstone Every Mile" earned him the nickname "The Baron of Country Music." Health problems, aggravated by a 20-year-long battle with the bottle, kept Curless out of the spotlight under late 1994 when he recorded this album. Curless dropped hints throughout the session that he knew this was his swan song (Curless died May 25), and the music reflects this; it has a strong summing-up quality to it. Whether he's singing about his mother ("I Don't Have a Memory Without Her"), his savior ("Since I Met You Jesus," "When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels") or himself ("I Never Go Around Mirrors"), there is an open unabashed sentimentality -genuine sentimentality - in Curless' voice, a level of emotion that most modern country singers are too image-conscious to reach.