In this week's episode, we're featuring Mel Tillis' first album on the Kapp label: "Stateside" (1966). After a short time with RIC, and following a longer stint with Columbia - Kapp signed Tillis in the mid 60s, and he was there for five years, releasing ten high quality albums in that time. Tillis fans will eagerly tell you about the bright artwork, the big Nudie suits and hard country style that typified his work for Kapp and "Stateside" is no different. A blockbuster release for 1966, it contains 12 songs - about half covers and half Tillis' own material. The album contained two Top 20 hits for Tillis - the first of his career - in "Wine" and "Stateside", which later became very popular with US servicemen stationed overseas, especially in The Far East. Perhaps a lonely Air Force recruit himself while stationed in Okinawa in the early 50s, Mel Tillis later took the inspiration of "Stateside" and named his band after the hit song. Other highlights, from a very worthy label debut include Billy Swan's mournful "Buried Alive", "Tormented Heart" and two duets with Sue York: "Home Is Where The Hurt Is" and "Above Suspicion". York, described as a "a tall stately Kentucky darling with long, flowing red hair and a magic, lyrical way with a country music song" has a voice which perfectly suits Tillis' and wears it like a vocal glove. She seems to disappear after 1966, but definitely contributes to a very enjoyable Mel Tillis album here.
Mel Tillis - Stateside
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