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Ricky Nelson – For You (Decca Years) 1963-69 (2008)

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Ricky Nelson – For You (Decca Years) 1963-69 (2008)

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Disc: 1 
01. You Don’t Love Me Anymore
02. I Got A Woman
03. What Comes Next?
04. Everytime I See You Smiling			play
05. Everytime I Think About You
06. For Your Sweet Love
07. Gypsy Woman
08. I Will Follow You
09. Let’s Talk The Whole Thing Over
10. One Boy Too Late
11. Pick Up The Pieces
12. String Along
13. You’re Free To Go
14. Hello Mister Happiness
15. That Same Old Feeling
16. Down Home
17. I Rise, I Fall
18. (I’d Be) A Legend In My Time
19. Fools Rush In
20. Just Take A Moment
21. That’s All She Wrote
22. For You
23. Hey There, Little Miss Tease
24. The Nearness Of You
25. My Old Flame
26. Love Is The Sweetest Thing
27. I Wonder (If Your Love -
- -. Will Ever Belong To Me)
28. Be My Love
29. The Very Thought Of You

Disc: 2 
01. Dinah
02. I’ll Get You Yet
03. I Don’t Wanna Love You
04. Just A Little Bit Sweet
05. I Love You More Than You Know
06. The Loneliest Sound
07. You’ll Never Fall In Love Again
08. Lonely Corner
09. Just Relax
10. There’s Nothing I Can Say
11. I’ve Been Lookin’
12. That’s Why I Love You Like I Do
13. A Happy Guy
14. In My Dreams
15. Don’t Breathe A Word
16. I’m Talking About You
17. Yesterday’s Love
18. Live And Learn
19. Liz
20. I Tried
21. I’m A Fool
22. Stop, Look, And Listen
23. From A Distance
24. When The Chips Are Down
25. Ladies Choice
26. Only The Young
27. Mean Old World
28. Since I Don’t Have You
29. Say You Love Me
30. Love And Kisses
31. Love And Kisses Movie Promo 1
32. Love And Kisses Movie Promo 2
33. Love And Kisses Movie Promo 3
34. Love And Kisses Movie Promo 4
35. Love And Kisses Movie Promo 5
36. Love And Kisses Movie Promo 6

Disc: 3 
01. I’m Not Ready For You Yet
02. It’s Beginning To Hurt
03. My Blue Heaven
04. How Does It Go?
05. You Don’t Know Me
06. Come Out Dancin’
07. I Know A Place
08. Love Is Where You Find It
09. I Should Have Loved You More
10. I Paid For Loving You
11. Raincoat In The River
12. I Catch Myself Crying
13. Our Own Funny Way
14. I Need You
15. Try To Remember			play
16. More
17. Stop The World (And Let Me Off)
18. Your Kind Of Lovin’
19. Freedom And Liberty
20. Fire Breathin’ Dragon
21. Louisiana Man
22. Congratulations
23. Truck Drivin’ Man
24. No Vacancy
25. Hello Walls
26. Night Train To Memphis
27. I’m A Fool To Care
28. You Just Can’t Quit
29. Here I Am
30. Bright Lights And Country Music
31. Kentucky Means Paradise
32. Welcome To My World

Disc: 4 
01. Alone
02. Big Chief Buffalo Nickel -
- -. (The Desert Blues)
03. Peddler Man
04. Blue Moon Of Kentucky
05. Mystery Train
06. You Win Again
07. (I Heard That) Lonesome -
- -. Whistle Blow
08. The Bridge Washed Out
09. Take These Chains From My Heart
10. Things You Gave Me
11. (Standing) On The Outside Lookin’ In
12. Helpless
- -. (with backing vocals)
13. Funny How Time Slips Away
14. Take A City Bride
15. Salty Dog
16. Walkin’ Down The Line
17. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore
18. They Don’t Give Medals -
- -. (To Yesterday’s Heroes)
19. Take A Broken Heart
20. Try To See It My Way
21. Freedom And Liberty
22. I’m Called Lonely
23. Suzanne On A Sunday Morning
24. Moonshine
25. Helpless -
- -. (without backing vocals)

Disc: 5 
01. Reason To Believe
02. Marshmallow Skies
03. I Wonder If Louise Is Home
04. Georgia On My Mind
05. Barefoot Boy
06. Dream Weaver
07. Baby Close Its Eyes
08. Don’t Make Promises
09. Daydream
10. Don’t Blame It On Your Wife
11. Promenade In Green			play
12. Three Day Eternity
13. The Lady Stayed With Me
14. I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today
15. When The Sun Shined Its Face On Me
16. So Long Dad /
- -. Love Story (Reprise)
17. Wait Till Next Year
18. For Emily Wherever I Find Her
19. Without Her
20. Stop By My Window
21. Hello To The Wind (Bonjour le vent)
- -. With Kris Nelson
22. Love Story
23. Lady Came From Baltimore
24. I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today
25. She Belongs To Me
26. Promises
27. Easy To Be Free
28. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
29. Promises


Rick Nelson was one of the very biggest of the '50s teen idols, so it took awhile for him to attain the same level of critical respectability as other early rock greats. Yet now the consensus is that he made some of the finest pop/rock recordings of his era. Sure, he had more promotional push than any other rock musician of the '50s; no, he wasn't the greatest singer; and yes, Elvis, Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins, and others rocked harder. But Nelson was extraordinarily consistent during the first five years of his recording career, crafting pleasant pop-rockabilly hybrids with ace session players and projecting an archetype of the sensitive, reticent young adult with his accomplished vocals. He also played a somewhat underestimated role in rock & roll's absorption into mainstream America -- how bad could rock be if it was featured on one of America's favorite family situation comedies on a weekly basis?

Nelson entered professional entertainment before his tenth birthday, when he appeared with father Ozzie (once a jazz musician), mother Harriet, and brother David on a radio comedy series based around the family. By the early '50s, the series was on television, and Ricky grew into a teenager in public. He was just the right age to have his life turned around by rock & roll in 1956 and started his recording career almost accidentally the following year. The story's sometimes been told that he had no professional singing ambitions until he recorded his debut single to impress a girlfriend. The single, a cover of Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'" that went to number four, was helped immensely (as all of his early singles would be) by plugs on the Ozzie & Harriet TV show.

So far the script was adhering to the Pat Boone teen idol prototype -- a whitewash of an R&B hit stealing the thunder from the pop audience, sung by a young, good-looking fella with barely any musical experience to speak of. What happened next was easy to predict commercially but surprisingly satisfying musically as well. Nelson was a fairly hip kid who preferred the rockabilly of Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley to the fodder dished out for teen idols, and over the next five years he would offer his own brand of rockabilly music, albeit one with some smooth Hollywood production touches and occasional pure pop ballads. Nelson recruited one of the greatest early rock guitarists, James Burton, to supply authentic licks (another great guitarist, Joe Maphis, played on some early sides). Some of his best and toughest songs ("Believe What You Say," "It's Late") were written by Johnny and/or Dorsey Burnette, who had previously been in one of the best rockabilly combos, the Johnny Burnette Rock 'n Roll Trio. Ricky could rock pretty hard when he wanted to, as on "Be-Bop Baby" and "Stood Up," though in a polished fashion that wasn't quite as wild and threatening as rockabilly's Southern originators.

Nelson really hit his stride, though, with mid-tempo numbers and ballads that provided a more secure niche for his calm vocals and narrow range. From 1957 to 1962, he was about the highest-selling singer in the U.S. except for Elvis, making the Top 40 about 30 times. "Poor Little Fool" and "Lonesome Town" (1958) were early indications of his ballad style; in the early '60s, "Travelin' Man," "Young World," "Teen Age Idol," and other hits pointed to a more countrified, mature style as he honed in on his 21st birthday (by which time he would shorten his billing from "Ricky" to "Rick"). He could still play rockabilly from time to time, the most memorable example being "Hello, Mary Lou" (co-written by Gene Pitney), with its electrifying James Burton solos.

Nelson was lured away from the Imperial label by a mammoth 20-year contract with Decca in 1963 (which would be terminated prematurely in the mid-'70s), and for a year or so the hits continued, at a less frenetic pace. Early-1964's "For You," however, would be his last big smash of the '60s. The fault wasn't all the Beatles and changing music trends -- on both singles and albums, much of the material was either substandard pop or dusty Tin Pan Alley standards, although isolated tracks still generated some sparks. He wasn't exactly starving, as he continued to appear on Ozzie and Harriet. But by the mid-'60s even that institution was declining in popularity, leading to its cancellation in 1966.

Nelson had a strong country feel to much of his material from the beginning, and by the late '60s it was becoming dominant. He covered straight country material by the likes of Willie Nelson and Doug Kershaw and formed one of the earliest country-rock groups, the Stone Canyon Band, with musicians who had played (or would play) with Poco, Buck Owens, Little Feat, and Roger McGuinn. A cover of Bob Dylan's "She Belongs to Me" made the Top 40 in 1970, but his country-rock outings attracted more critical acclaim than commercial success, until 1972's "Garden Party." A rare self-composed number, based around the frosty reception granted his contemporary material at a rock & roll oldies show, it became his last Top Ten hit.

Nelson would continue to record off and on for the next dozen years and toured constantly, yet he was unable to capitalize on his assets. A big part of the problem was that although Nelson wanted to play contemporary music, he didn't write much of his own material, which was a basic precept of self-respecting rock acts after the advent of the Beatles. Nor did he tap into good outside compositions, and there's little of interest on the albums he recorded over the last decade or so of his life. He died (along with his fiancée) in a private plane crash on December 31, 1985, on his way to a New Year's Eve gig in Dallas, at the age of 45. --- Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com

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