The Entertainer – Greatest U.S. & Canadian Hits
Real Gone Music
Review by David Bowling
While never as popular in the United States as Canada, Ray Griff did place 23 singles on the Billboard Country Charts although he never reached the top ten. In Canada he consistently reached the top ten including his number one country hit “If I Let Her Come In.” Real Gone Music has now gathered his most successful singles under the title The Entertainer – Greatest U.S. & Canadian Hits.
The 24 tracks are presented in chronological order 1967-1986, and encompass his work for six different labels. The songs are not modern country but rests firmly in what today can be labeled as a classic country sound. The material takes you back to the Hank Snow and Ray Price era when country music was basic and told a story without the rock and roll trappings of today.
It was with the Capital label during the mid-1970’s that he achieved his greatest commercial success as a recording artist. “If I Let Her Come In” is a pure country cheatin’ ballad with a unique falsetto vocal. “You Ring My Bell” contained a little funk in its country approach.
Griff just rolls through the ballads and mid-tempo material. His delivery is smooth and his vocal style mellow, all of which makes one wonder why he was not a bigger star.
As with all of the Real Gone reissues, the sound quality is impeccable and the accompanying booklet gives a fine overview of his career and music. It would have been nice to have some of his early rockabilly material included but that would not have fit the “hits” theme of the release.
Ray Griff is an artist whose music has been out of print for several decades. While his sound may not resonate with modern day country aficionados, it is a nice trip back in time to when country music had a twang and sincerity that is missing today. An excellent compilation album by a many times forgotten artist.