Forty-one years of country music are spanned in a Carlene Carter duet with her father, Carl Smith, on her forthcoming (Aug. 8) album, “Little Acts of Treason.”
The song is Smith’s No. 1 hit from 1954, “Loose Talk,” although Carter confesses that wasn’t always the plan.
“We have been saying we are going to do a duet for years,” says the woman whose career began in the late 1970s and spans the considerable musical and geographical distance from London’s “power pop” to Los Angeles rock to Nashville country.
“I wanted it to be really special and be the right song and all that stuff,” she says. “Ultimately, I kept coming back to ‘Loose Talk.’ If I had my druthers, I’d rather it had been something I had written myself, and I did try. I wrote, like, five or six songs, but I fired myself continually because they were just not good enough.”
She says her father “said the coolest thing when they asked him about doing ‘Loose Talk’ with me; he said, ‘That song made me a lot of money in my career, and I’m going to pass it on to Carlene. Maybe it will make her a lot of money, too.”’
Though the song was co-written by Freddie Hart, a country performer whose stardom followed Smith’s by a couple of decades, “it was one of the biggest hits (Smith) ever had.”
Smith’s prominence even predated that of Carter’s stepfather, Johnny Cash, a long run that registered 93 songs on the hit charts. Carter recalls that in recording the duet with her father, “it scared me, ‘cause he grabbed me and made me look at him and started singing in my face like, ‘This is how it goes, girl.’
“I’ve never been so intimidated in my life as I was with Daddy. It’s not that he’s ever even raised his voice to me; it was like the respect factor. It was more scary to me than Paul McCartney would be. My dad wrote the book. He invented it.
“Maybe this will turn people on to him a bit more.”
Of the album’s 13 cuts, Carter wrote five and co-wrote five more.
Emery finds his format
Having debuted his new live, onehour, five-mornings-a-week (6 and 10 a.m.) “Ralph Emery Show” on The Nashville Network with such diverse country stars as Lorrie Morgan, Ray Stevens, David Ball, Vince Gill, Tom T. Hall and Chet Atkins, the archetypal radio-TV impresario is settling into a format combining celebrity guests, musical performances, news features, interviews with country disc jockeys and even intermittent lifestyle features on subjects such as cooking and crafts.
Emery notes that his plan calls for the daily creation of a “close intimate setting similar to that of a breakfast club.”
Boss on new Joe Ely album
Texas country-rock cult favorite Joe Ely has a new MCA album titled “Letter to Laredo” that features a triumvirate of varied guests: Bruce Springsteen on two cuts, Ralo Malo of The Mavericks on one cut and Ely’s old buddy and former Texas bandmate, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, on another.
Ely wrote eight of the album’s 11 songs and co-wrote yet another one.