A new expanded edition of the album Let Me Get Close to You was released by Playback Records on May 19. This is one of the best-sounding Skeeter Davis CDs I have heard, and the bonus tracks are wonderful. This is the best Skeeter Davis CD currently in print.
This release will have the original 12 songs plus 13 additional tracks. Here is the tracklist for this CD:|
1. Now I Lay Me Down To Weep
2. Gonna Get Along Without You Now
3. Didn't I
4. My Sweet Loving Man
5. I Can't Stay Mad At You
6. My Happiness
7. Let Me Get Close To You
8. Another You
9. Ladder Of Success
10. He Says The Same Things To Me
11. Ask Me
12. Easy To Love (So Hard To Get)
13. Don't Let Me Stand In Your Way
14. La, La, La
15. I Don't Want To Love You
16. What Am I Gonna Do With You
18. On and On and On
19. The Face Of A Clown
20. Now You're Gone
21. It Was Only A Heart
22. How Much Can A Lonely Heart Stand
23. Somebody Else On Your Mind
24. I'm Saving My Love
25. The End of the World
You may order this album now by clicking on the image to the right or the link above.
from NO DEPRESSION Magazine, Nov-Dec 2004 issue:
SKEETER DAVIS, 1931-2004
Near the end of Skeeter Davis' honest, sometimes unsettling 1993 autobiography,
Bus Fare to Kentucky
, she concludes that "without the valleys, I could
not have enjoyed the mountains." True enough. She's journeyed through poverty,
musical triumphs and stumbles, controversy, three marriages, and traumas
capped by sixteen years battling the cancer that ended her life September 19 at age 72.
Mary Frances Penick, born in a two-room cabin near Glencoe, Kentucky, in 1931, was
the first of William and Punzie Penick's seven kids. Her grandfather, impressed by
her energy, nicknamed her "Skeeter." Around 1947 the Penicks relocated to Covington,
Kentucky, where she sang with high school classmate Betty Jack Davis. As the Davis
Sisters, they gained momentum working at Detroit's WJR Barnyard Frolics in the early '50s.
Their smart, assertive harmonies impressed RCA's Steve Sholes, who signed them in 1953.
That summer, as their "I Forgot More Than You'll
Ever Know" headed to #1, a violent car crash left Betty Jack dead and Skeeter injured.
Betty's conniving stage mother coerced Skeeter into performing with Betty's sister Georgia
through 1956. Skeeter had to marry (briefly) to finally escape Mrs. Davis.
Chet Atkins played guitar on nearly all the Davis Sisters' RCA sessions. By 1958 he ran
RCA Nashville; suspecting Skeeter's voice had broader potential, he multitracked her vocals
to echo the Davis Sisters sound. Amid such masterpieces as "Am I That Easy To Forget", however,
were gimmicky "answer" hits such as "Lost To A Geisha Girl", a response to Hank Locklin's hit
"Geisha Girl". She joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1959.
The angst-heavy 1962 ballad "The End Of The World" finally gave her the massive pop country
crossover success Atkins envisioned. A year later, "I Can't Stay Mad At You" did likewise.
Though Davis had five singles earning Grammy nominations, Atkins didn't establish a musical
consistency, resulting in a surfeit of grossly overproduced material. Her albums ran the
gamut from gospel and pop standards to duets with Bobby Bare or Porter Wagoner to
Flatt & Scruggs, Buddy Holly and Dolly Parton tributes. She fared better at RCA in the
'70s when her ex-guitarist Ronny Light produced her.
Her quirks (a home menagerie complete with pet ocelot) and personal trials earned
her media attention. A 1959-64 marriage to egocentric WSM disc jockey Ralph Emery left
bitterness that reverberated through their respective autobiographies. The uniquely tolerant,
free-spirited Christian fundamentalism she practiced challenged Opry customs. She was among
the few to warmly greet the Byrds during their tension-filled 1968 Opry appearance. In a 1973
Opry performance, she chided Nashville police for arresting street evangelists, earning her
a 15-month suspension from the show.
Davis left RCA around 1974 and subsequent records were spotty, with one exception:
She Sings, They Play was a clever, stylish 1980s album with NRBQ, whose bassist,
Joey Spampinato, she married in 1983. The Opry rift eventually healed. It became her
primary performing outlet except for overseas tours, but her woes persisted; her parents'
deaths sent her into a tailspin, and 1988 brought her first cancer diagnosis. She and
Spampinato divorced in 1996.
Skeeter Davis recorded some memorable music. More importantly, in an industry that
rarely embraces - and often suppresses - the unconventional, her joyous eccentricity
was refreshing in itself.
- RICH KIENZLE