Two of Tom T. Hall
's 1972 albums are combined on one CD on this British reissue, which adds historical liner notes. Since both of these albums did quite well commercially, each reaching the country Top 20, it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn (according to the back cover blurb) that this release marks the first time these LPs have been on compact disc. True to the title of the latter of the two records -- and true for many of Hall
's records -- the emphasis is very much on story-songs, often wry, sometimes sentimental, and usually with more of a twist and more humor than many such country tunes. Some of Hall
's better-known compositions from the era are here, such as (from We All Got Together And...
) "Pamela Brown" and "The Monkey That Became President," and (from Storyteller
) "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine." Some change of pace from the usual measured tale-telling is supplied by the gospel-oriented "Me and Jesus," which gave Hall
a Top Ten country single, and "More About John Henry" (a saucier variation of the folk tune inspired by the famous folk character), which was a milder hit. So much storytelling at once, usually set to amiable country-pop arrangements, might be too much for more casual fans. Then again, a Tom T. Hall
fan is interested in story-songs almost by definition, which makes this a good value to pick up for listeners who want more than best-ofs in their collections.