by Kris Kristofferson


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Kris Kristofferson is known for a half-dozen compositions that became pop or country hits in the early 1970s, most of them for other artists: "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," "For the Good Times," "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)," and "Why Me." But in the country market, he had many other hits as a songwriter over a period of more than 20 years. The two-CD compilation, an unusually ambitious undertaking for Sony Music's Special Products division (why didn't Legacy, the company's top-of-the-line reissue division do it?), devotes one disc to Kristofferson's own versions of some of his hits, with the second disc given over to the hit versions recorded by others, some of them licensed from other labels. There are a couple of his songs that he himself had hits with ("Josie," "Why Me"), and only his versions are included, and there are a couple of the many songs he had hits with but never recorded himself ("Vietnam Blues," "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends"). There are also two cover versions each of "Me and Bobby McGee" (by Roger Miller and Janis Joplin) and "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (Sammi Smith and Willie Nelson). The result is revelatory. His rough voice an acquired taste and his arrangements given to loose country-rock, Kristofferson makes his songs sound like personal statements. Then you hear the slick country versions of the same songs, and they sound like good commercial Nashville product. Sammi Smith's "Help Me Make It Through the Night," sung from a woman's viewpoint, has a completely different feel from Kristofferson's. "If You Don't Like Hank Williams" sounds like it was written for Hank Williams, Jr.'s typically belligerent reading, though Kristofferson's own is, if anything, more raucous. The early "Vietnam Blues," the artist's first-ever cut back in 1966 by Dave Dudley, demonstrates the pro-war, anti-demonstrator attitude of the just-discharged former army captain, a vastly different political viewpoint from the one he would espouse two decades later. Singer/Songwriter is not perfect -- a thorough collection would have dredged up his 1967 Epic Records single "The Golden Idol" and included more of his lost masterpieces and big country hits, notably the great love song "I've Got to Have You" and the major country hits "Your Time's Comin'," "I Won't Mention It Again," and "One Day at a Time." But this is the first compilation to give listeners a sense of the scope of Kristofferson's achievement as a songwriter, beyond the handful of songs for which he is best known. (Though the annotations do not say so, the Kristofferson performance of "From the Bottle to the Bottom" appears to be previously unreleased.)

Product Details

Release Date: 10/08/1991
Label: Sony Cmg Mkt Group
UPC: 0074644862126
catalogNumber: 48621
Rank: 10900

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kris Kristofferson   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Norman Blake   Dobro
Bobby Bare   Vocals,Track Performer
Johnny Cash   Vocals,Track Performer
Dave Dudley   Vocals,Track Performer
Johnny Duncan   Vocals
Waylon Jennings   Vocals,Track Performer
Ronnie Milsap   Vocals,Track Performer
Willie Nelson   Vocals,Track Performer
Ray Price   Vocals,Track Performer
Buddy Spicher   Fiddle
Gene Clark   Keyboards,Vocals
Rita Coolidge   Vocals,Track Performer
Bob Dylan   Vocals,Track Performer
Janis Joplin   Vocals,Track Performer
Jordanaires   Background Vocals
Jerry Lee Lewis   Vocals,Track Performer
Roger Miller   Vocals,Track Performer
Pete Drake   Steel Guitar
Roy Drusky   Vocals,Track Performer
Donnie Fritts   Electric Piano,Background Vocals
Chris Gantry   Guitar
Mac Gayden   Guitar
Dennis Linde   Guitar
Billy Swan   Bass,Background Vocals
Sammi Smith   Vocals,Track Performer
Billy Walker   Vocals,Track Performer
Grady Martin   Guitar
Bobby Wood   Keyboards
Children's Choir   Track Performer
Bobbye Hall   Percussion
Stephen Bruton   Guitar
Kenny Buttrey   Drums
Jerry Carrigan   Drums
Chip Young   Guitar
Gene Chrisman   Drums
Johnny Christopher   Guitar
Tommy Cogbill   Bass
Jim Colvard   Guitar
Sammy Creason   Drums
Nick DeCaro   Accordion
Shane Keister   Synthesizer
Bobby Dyson   Bass
Bobby Emmons   Organ
Ray Endenton   Guitar
John Harris   Organ,Piano,Electric Piano
Tommy Jackson   Fiddle
Jerry Kennedy   Guitar
Brenda Lee   Vocals,Track Performer
Tommy McClure   Bass
Jerry McGee   Guitar
Memphis Tennessee Police Choir   Track Performer
Farrell Morris   Percussion
Wayne Moss   Guitar
Weldon Myrick   Steel Guitar
Andy Newmark   Drums
Terry Paul   Bass
Norbert Putnam   Bass
Jerry Shook   Guitar
Fred Tackett   Guitar,Mandolin
John "Bucky" Wilkin   Guitar
Hank Williams   Vocals,Track Performer
Reggie Young   Guitar
Charlie McCoy   Organ,Harmonica
Michael Utley   Keyboards,Electric Piano,Background Vocals
Leland Sklar   Bass
Tompall & the Glaser Brothers   Vocals
David Briggs   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Kris Kristofferson   Composer,Liner Notes
David Anderle   Producer
David Cherry   Engineer
Gene Eichelberger   Engineer
Fred Foster   Producer
Larry Greenhill   Engineer
John Haeny   Engineer
Ron Hitchcock   Engineer
Peggy McCreary   Engineer
Memphis Tennessee Police Choir   Contributor
Chips Moman   Producer,Engineer
Tommy Strong   Engineer
Mort Thomasson   Engineer
John Morthland   Liner Notes

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