Freddie Hart "Juke Joint Boogie" (Bear Family, 2004)
Most folks know Freddie Hart through his lush, louche countrypolitan hits of the early 1970s, steamy softcore classics like "Easy Loving" and "Got The All Overs For You..." But Hart spent decades slogging through the back 'forty before he got a shot at the gold, and there was a time when Hart was a full-on hillbilly singer, with rough edges and an even rougher life. This is a swell collection of his early work, rollicking honkytonk that'll knock the socks off country fans who only know him from his tepid '60s albums on the Kapp label and the slick, chart-topping country-pop he did for Capitol when he was a 'Seventies superstar. Seriously, folks -- this is a great record, packed with one fine rompy, stompy hard country tune after another. Check it out! I was amazed.
Freddie Hart "The Best Of" (Capitol/EMI, 1992/2006)
This standard-issue, ten-song retrospective hasn't changed over the years... The label seems t think this is about all anyone needs to hear of Hart's old stuff... and they're probably right. It's a generous slice of his early '70s hitmaking years... Hopelessly syrupy, chorus-and-strings heavy soft-pop countrypolitan that picks up where Jim Reeves and Eddy Arnold left off. Hart tried to spice his woman-on-a-pedestal romantic ballads up with "hip" modern slang -- "hang-ups," "turn-offs," etc. It's similar to the swinger vibe some of the older country crooners tried to affect late in the game, but Hart's repertoire is resolutely monogamous. It's also hopelessly schmaltzy and cheezoid... some of this may work as kitsch, but it's basically just muzak, elevator music. This collection only goes up to the middle of the decade -- Hart still had hits right through the disco era, but his style didn't change that much. For hard country fans, he doesn't have a lot to offer.
Freddie Hart "Easy Loving/My Hang Up Is You" (2000)
A straight reissue of two of Hart's most successful albums, 1971's Easy Loving and My Hang Up Is You, from 1972.
Freddie Hart "I Will Never Die" (Music Mill, 1995)
A gospel album...
Freddie Hart "Sermon On The Mountain" (Music Mill, 2001)
More religious recordings...
Freddie Hart "The Spirited Freddie Hart" (Columbia, 1962) (LP)
Freddie Hart "The Hart Of Country Music" (Kapp, 1965) (LP)
(Produced by Paul Cohen & Cliff Parman)
This was Hart's debut for the Kapp label, and in many ways, an unremarkable album... About half the songs just seem like Nashville guys going through the motions. Partly that's because Hart was a pretty limited and laidback singer, and partly because that's just how they did things back then. But if you give him a chance, he may get you in on his wavelength; a few songs really pull you in, others just kinda lope along and do little. There's another version of "Loose Talk" (his first big hit as a songwriter, about a decade earlier...) and weepy winners like "Excuse Me For Living," as well as the cornball "Hank Williams' Guitar." Nothing great, but you can hear hints of his future success as a country crooner...
Freddie Hart "The Hart Of Country Music" (Kapp, 1966) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Straight From The Heart" (Vocalion, 1966) (LP)
Freddie Hart "A Hurtin' Man" (Kapp, 1967) (LP)
Freddie Hart "The Neon And The Rain" (Kapp, 1967) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Togetherness" (Kapp, 1968) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Born A Fool" (Kapp, 1968) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Greatest Hits" (Kapp, 1969) (LP)
Freddie Hart "New Sounds" (Capitol, 1970) (LP)
Freddie Hart "California Grapevine" (Capitol, 1971) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Easy Loving" (Capitol, 1971)
Freddie Hart "My Hang-Up Is You" (Capitol, 1972)
Freddie Hart "Bless Your Heart" (Capitol, 1972) (LP)
Freddie Hart "The World Of Freddie Hart" (Columbia, 1972) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Got The All Overs For You" (Capitol, 1972) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Super Kind Of Woman" (Capitol, 1973) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Trip To Heaven" (Capitol, 1973) (LP)
Freddie Hart "If You Can't Feel It (It Ain't There)" (Capitol, 1973) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Hang In There Girl" (Capitol, 1974) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Country Heart 'N Soul" (Capitol, 1974) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Greatest Hits" (Capitol, 1975) (LP)
The Heartbeats "Freddie Hart Presents The Heartbeats" (Capitol, 1975) (LP)
Freddie Hart "The First Time" (Capitol, 1975) (LP)
Freddie Hart "People Put To Music" (Capitol, 1976) (LP)
Freddie Hart "That Look In Her Eyes" (Capitol, 1976) (LP)
Freddie Hart "The Pleasure's Been All Mine" (Capitol, 1977) (LP)
Freddie Hart "Only You" (Capitol, 1978) (LP)
Freddie Hart "My Lady" (Capitol, 1979) (LP)
Freddie Hart "A Sure Thing" (Sunbird, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Nelson Larkin & Earl Conley)
Hart was definitely over the hill when he recorded this one, but for some reason I find it quite an endearing album... His voice is kind of ragged, and the studio band overcompensates all the way through with lush, overripe performances, and Hart tries to compensate by singing a lot of novelty material. Nonetheless, he scored a Top 20 hit with "Sure Thing," which was written by newcomer Earl Thomas Conley, who is also credited as one of the album's producers. Several of the other songs were written by Hart, and a couple may be more revealing than you might imagine. On the mildly risque "Battle Of The Sexes," he kind of snickers a little as he says the word "sex"(!) and there's a similar oh-what-a-naughty-boy vibe on "The Weaker Sex," a far more interesting song where Hart loudly proclaims his pride at being the more passive participant in a relationship. It's more sensual than kinky, but will still be of interest as a sexual novelty song. Turns out this was Hart's last album -- a couple more songs were released as singles, and after that he faded off the charts. Overall, this wasn't a bad way to go out...!
Hick Music Index