The careers of singer Nancy Wilson and pianist Ramsey Lewis have followed parallel lines since the early 1960s. Although both began as jazz artists, they soon found greater fame and fortune in contemporary pop and have rarely looked back since. In 1982, Mr. Lewis and Ms. Wilson teamed up for a vapid, forgettable collection of smooth jazz/contemporary pop called The Two of Us. For jazz fans, the record represented all the wrong turns taken by these two obviously talented musicians.
It's hard to believe that Morning Glory Ramblers is the first full-length recording by Norman and Nancy Blake in eight years. Certainly they've been active, from playing on all 47 Down From the Mountain dates, performing on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain soundtracks, June Carter Cash's final album, Wildwood Flower, and various other projects. This album, recorded on the soundstage of the Western Jubilee Warehouse in Colorado Springs, is a dynamite setting for the material found here. There are 17 songs in this collection, seven of them traditional melodies, still others so old they've seldom been heard over the last century, a Hank Williams' tune, and a couple by friends of Norman and Nancy's that are so saturated in the deep country, they could have been written decades before.
Raven's 2002 two-fer CD reissue of Jerry Lee Lewis' 1968 album Another Place Another Time and 1970's She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye contains the added bonus of six tracks – over half the album – from 1969's She Still Comes Around (To Love What's Left of Me). By doing this, the disc transcends typical two-fer status (which, frankly, would have been enough, since these two albums are so tremendous, their first CD release is something to celebrate) and becomes the best single-disc collection of Jerry Lee's country material. There have been other discs that tackle the same recordings for Smash (all unfortunately out of print as of this writing), but their scope was a little broader, including many of his '70s hits for Mercury as well as Smash sides unheard here.