The Shape You Left Me In

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Jimmy Donley's life was one long argument with the world, a continual string of fights, dangerous marriages he married four times and beat and abused all four of his spouses, and pure, self-generated trouble that never abated until his suicide in 1963 at the age of 34. One could almost say good riddance, except Donley had an impressive talent for singing and writing songs, and his legacy of swampy rockabilly party tunes and heartbreaking, lonely love ballads is all the more amazing for being generated from the gates of his own personal hell. This set from Bear Family Records collects the heart of Donley's work with Decca Records between 1957 and 1961, the period when ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Jimmy Donley's life was one long argument with the world, a continual string of fights, dangerous marriages he married four times and beat and abused all four of his spouses, and pure, self-generated trouble that never abated until his suicide in 1963 at the age of 34. One could almost say good riddance, except Donley had an impressive talent for singing and writing songs, and his legacy of swampy rockabilly party tunes and heartbreaking, lonely love ballads is all the more amazing for being generated from the gates of his own personal hell. This set from Bear Family Records collects the heart of Donley's work with Decca Records between 1957 and 1961, the period when Donley came nearest to achieving his dream of being a star. He never came close to being a household name, though, but it isn't because his recordings weren't good. These tracks were produced in Nashville by the legendary Owen Bradley and featured the best session musicians around, including saxophonist Boots Randolph and guitarist Hank Garland, and were sweetened by orchestrations and the seemingly ever-present Anita Kerr Singers who add joyous depth to some songs but also add little or nothing but listener irritation to others. But everything hinged on Donley's singing and swagger anyway, and he did both well, although his Cajun-like diction made some songs lyrically indecipherable. Donley simply had that elusive thing when he sang, a feeling that all the loneliness in the world was in his heart -- the words were almost secondary. Songs like his signature "The Shape You Left Me," the gorgeous ballad "What Must I Do," and the ultimately very autobiographical "Born to Be a Loser" are revelatory for their depth of passion, confusion, and sadness, and even a hillbilly Saturday night stomper like "Kickin' My Hound Around" seems to hint at deeper truths, whether or not Donley ever actually found anything but anger in his heart. Donley went on to record for Johnny Vincent's Ace Records and Huey Meaux's Tear Drop Records after Decca finally gave up on him in 1961, but his catalog with the label -- although there aren't a lot of recordings -- is a strong one. Fighting the world and everyone in it is one thing -- these wonderful tracks suggest it could have been different.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/23/2010
  • Label: Bear Family
  • UPC: 790051653422
  • Catalog Number: 16534

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Come Along (2:10)
  2. 2 Child Love (2:22)
  3. 3 Kickin' My Hound Around (1:52)
  4. 4 Baby How Long (2:21)
  5. 5 Please Baby Come Home (2:31)
  6. 6 Born To Be A Loser (2:46)
  7. 7 Radio, Jukebox, And T.V. (2:29)
  8. 8 I'm Alone (2:26)
  9. 9 The Shape You Left Me In (2:42)
  10. 10 Arleeta (2:42)
  11. 11 What Must I Do (2:56)
  12. 12 Give Me My Freedom (2:07)
  13. 13 Now I Know (2:51)
  14. 14 I Can't Love You Like You Want Me To Do (2:31)
  15. 15 Our Love (2:18)
  16. 16 I've Been There (2:35)
  17. 17 My Baby's Gone (2:34)
  18. 18 I Gotta Go (2:04)
  19. 19 South of the Border (2:35)
  20. 20 The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (2:23)
  21. 21 Child Love (2:40)
  22. 22 Arleeta (2:36)
  23. 23 Radio, Jukebox and T.V. (2:37)
  24. 24 I'm Alone (5:35)
  25. 25 I'm Alone (2:22)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jimmy Donley Primary Artist, Vocals
Floyd Cramer Piano
The Anita Kerr Singers Choir, Chorus
Chester B. Atkins Guitar
Harold Bradley Bass Guitar
Owen Bradley Organ
Louis Dean Nunley Choir, Chorus
Dorothy Ann Dillard Choir, Chorus
Morris Palmer Drums
William Guilford Wright Jr. Choir, Chorus
Frank Duke Drums
Walter L. "Hank Sugarfoot" Garland Guitar
Howard Ralph Carpenter Violin
Thomas Grady Martin Guitar, Vibes
Bob L. Moore Bass
Lillian Vann Hunt Violin
Mildred Kirkham Choir, Chorus
Marion Carpenter Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
Technical Credits
Johnnie Allan Illustrations
Jimmy Kennedy Composer
Owen Bradley Producer
Ballard MacDonald Composer
Pee Wee Maddux Composer, Illustrations
Diethold Leu Illustrations
R.A. Andreas Illustrations
Richard Weize Tape Research
Jurgen Crasser Mastering
Vic McAlpin Composer
Andreas Merck Photo Scanning
Jimmy Rodgers Composer
Horst Zimmermann Photo Scanning
Harry Carrell Composer
Kenneth J. Donley Composer
Lillie Mae Donley Composer
Marion Carpenter Composer
Myrna Donley Mayo Illustrations
Myrna L. Donley Composer
Ron Self Composer
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