The Very Best of Sue Thompson

The Very Best of Sue Thompson

by Sue Thompson


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Sue Thompson had two distinct phases in her career: the first as a teen pop vocalist, singing light, cutesy tunes (often written by John D. Loudermilk) perfect for a prom, the second as a lush country crooner, singing songs for housewives. Since Thompson had a thin, light voice, it was perfectly suited for the pop material, but tended to cut against the burnished countrypolitan productions, which is why her duets with Don Gibson work so well -- she provides a good counterpoint to his rich, warm voice. It can't quite be said that the teen pop and country-pop material function as good counterpoints to each other on Varese's 2003 collection The Very Best of Sue Thompson, however. They have very different tones and they're not complimentary. Nevertheless, this approach does mean that it has nearly all of Thompson's hits from throughout her career -- the few that are missing scraped the bottom of the charts -- and therefore provides a thorough retrospective (the only collection to come close to The Very Best of Sue Thompson is Collectables' 1995 release Golden Classics, which contained two more songs, but wasn't as well-produced and nicely assembled as this). But country fans take note: Although the back cover touts that all songs were produced by Wesley Rose, a good 11 songs are all trifling, lightweight pop and the five country tunes are pleasantly generic, mainstream, early-'70s country. Finally, it has to be said that a little of Thompson's light, nasal voice goes a long, long way, particularly when it's squeaking out silly, cutesy, contrived teen novelties. That's where Thompson's biggest hits lie, and that's what fuels this compilation, and though they're interesting as period pieces or nostalgia trips, they're hard to listen to all in a row.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/12/2003
Label: Varese Sarabande
UPC: 0030206648324
catalogNumber: 066483
Rank: 58405

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sue Thompson   Primary Artist,Vocals
Floyd Cramer   Piano
Don Gibson   Vocals
Grady Martin   Guitar
Anita Kerr Singers   Background Vocals
Buddy Harman   Drums
Boots Randolph   Saxophone

Technical Credits

Don Gibson   Composer
Glenn Barber   Composer
Felice Bryant   Composer
Boudleaux Bryant   Composer
Dallas Frazier   Composer
John D. Loudermilk   Composer
Cary E. Mansfield   Producer
Mark Myrie   Composer
Ted Daffan   Composer
Bill Dahl   Liner Notes
Earl Sinks   Composer
Bill Pitzonka   Art Direction
Bobby Montgomery   Composer
Steve Massie   Producer
Bobby Bond   Composer
James White   Composer
Phyllis Powell   Composer

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The Very Best of Sue Thompson 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Varese’s latest treasure hunt from Nashville’s Hickory Records catalog spotlights a vocalist who found chart success in the early ’60s with sweet, Brenda Lee styled pop, and again in the ’70s, with light country fare that paired her with the legendary Don Gibson. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of her hits are the heavyweight songwriters who supplied the songs: John D. Loudermilk, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, Roy Orbison and Dallas Frazier. ¶ All sixteen of these sides were produced by Hickory head-honcho, Wesley Rose, using Nashville studio pickers and orchestration to create a poppier version of the Nashville Sound. Thompson’s vocals were surprising youthful, given her mid-30s age in the early ’60s, not to mention the decade of experience that preceded her tenure at Hickory. In addition to live work in talent shows, and on radio and television, Thompson recorded a number of country and western swing tunes as part of Dude Martin’s entourage in the ’50s. ¶ Her earlier work at Mercury (not anthologized here) found her moving in a pop direction, with several sides backed by the label’s house orchestra, under the direction of David Carroll. It was a direction that would pay dividends, especially when matched up with the teen-oriented material of John D. Loudermilk. Thompson’s first hit, "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)," is a keenly produced story of teenage infidelity, with a twangy bass played against swirling strings and a ’50s-styled saxophone. She followed up with the cute, march-tempo, "Norman," featuring an insidious title hook and a pep-band horn arrangement. Her 1962 hit, "James (Hold the Ladder)," has a similar, showtune-styled step to it. ¶ Ballads, such as "Two of a Kind," lean back to the country side of the Nashville Sound, with Floyd Cramer’s laconic slip-key piano and the Anita Kerr singers setting the mood. Thompson also sang torch tunes, like the Bryants’ "Have a Good Time," though they don’t match her young-sounding voice as well as the more treacly teenage material. Similarly, "Bad Boy" sounds more like an Elvis movie tossoff than a song from the pen of Roy Orbison. Thompson closed out her pop-hit career in 1965 with Loudermilk’s "Paper Tiger," combining a bluesy harmonica with a vocal that sounds like Haley Mills channeling Ann-Margret. ¶ The early ’70s found Thompson’s commercial fortunes revived via a series of duets with Don Gibson. Gibson’s own "The Two of Us Together" kicked off a short string of successes, setting his relaxed vocal against Thompson’s still young sounding voice. Though there are pop touches (the electric sitar of "I Think They Call it Love"), these are more decidedly country productions than Thompson’s earlier work on the label. Her solo single, "Big Mable Murphy," mixing Roaring 20s jazz with Dixieland-styled horns, rang up #50 on the country chart. ¶ This is a nicely balanced collection of Thompson’s Hickory years, pulling together her earlier pop singles with her later country successes. Now all we need is for someone to put together a collection of her pre-Hickory work! ¶ 3-3/4 stars, if allowed fractional ratings.