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Greatest Hits

  out of 4 Music Review: Greatest Hits

Artist: Rick Nelson
Genre: Rock
Release Date: February 2002

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
No rating supplied

Are you ready for a trip down memory lane? For those of you old enough to remember, this will be a time for the sweetness of reminiscing. "Rick Nelson's Greatest Hits" is bound to jar loose those cobwebs stuck between your ears. Nelson and his parents Ozzie and Harriet had a TV show based on family life that helped the budding young star jumpstart his accidental rock and roll career. I say accidental because he wanted to record a song for his girlfriend and it ended up being the Fat's Domino song "I'm Walkin'", Ricky's first big hit. He actual had to be coerced into releasing the song. Well, the rest is history and you will find a nice encapsulation of that history and a great career on this CD.

The infamous James Burton (also well known for his work with Elvis Presley) and his trademark guitar was a major contributor to Nelson's success, as were other great session musicians. Taking the nod from Elvis and all the folks from Sun Records, he decided to forge ahead with a rockabilly style instead of a fluffy teen pop sound. In spite of himself, he became one of the first teen idols due to his good looks and smooth voice. He had limited range but he more than made up for it with his instinctive talent for delivering a song and his natural mild mannered temperament. According to people who knew him he was as humble as they come, and he stayed that way until he passed away in a plane accident in 1985. "Hello Mary Lou", with Burton's snappy guitar, was a huge hit, and some of his best recorded work. I personally enjoyed that song and "Fools Rush In." I believe those two songs typified Ricky's style and musical demeanor perfectly.

This is an excellent overview of his primary work. There is no question that if his life had been spared it would have taken a lot more than one CD to cover his catalog appropriately. Nelson was one of the first to create a country rock band, "The Stone Canyon Band", and two tracks from that time period are included on this collection. "She Belongs To Me" and "Garden Party" are good examples of how Nelson made the migration to a different genre successfully. I always loved hearing "Garden Party" come over the AM airwaves, it had a contagious beat with colorful lyrics. One of Nelson's shortcomings was his lack of original material, and this contributed to his waning popularity before the advent of "The Stone Canyon Band."

It's too bad we lost him so early, he was only 45 and he surely could have contributed so much more to music and television. Regrettably, it was another tragic end to a rock and roll star's life. It seems history is written long before it ever happens.

Do yourself a favor and go to the Hollywood and Vine website and check out all the videos available of Ricky Nelson performing his hits. Thank God for recordings and celluloid to keep our memories alive. Many thanks must go to Capitol Records for this brilliant reissue package which includes informative liner notes, great black and white shots of the artist, and color photos of the original album covers. This one is a real keeper.

1. I'm Walkin'
2. Be-Bop Baby (single version)
3. Stood Up
4. Believe What You Say (single version)
5. Poor Little Fool
6. Lonesome Town
7. I Got A Feeling
8. Never Be Anyone Else But You
9. It's Late
10. Just A Little Too Much
11. Sweeter Than You
12. Travelin' Man
13. Hello Mary Lou
14. Everlovin'
15. Young World
16. Teenage Idol
17. Fools Rush In
18. For You
19. She Belongs To Me (with The Stone Canyon Band)
20. Garden Party (with The Stone Canyon Band)



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