Review: Various Artists – The Wilburn Brothers Show (Varese Sarabande, 1966/2011)
Little by little, the catalog of 1960s country hit-makers Teddy and Doyle Wilburn is coming back into print. Varese issued a terrific greatest hits anthology in 2006, and followed up with an album of inspirational songs earlier this year. An import anthology and original album reissues [1 2] are now joined by Varese’s first ever CD issue of the official soundtrack album from the Wilburn’s popular television show. Originally released in 1966, the album recreates the format of the duo’s half-hour show (complete with light audience applause), collecting terrific performances from the Wilburns, comedy and song by Harold Morrison, spotlights from the show’s “girl singer” Loretta Lynn, and guest appearances by Ernest Tubb. Owen Bradley produced the disc in crisp mono at the famed Bradley’s Barn, capturing live versions of several hits, including the Wilburns’ “Trouble’s Back in Town,” “It’s Another World” and “Knoxville Girl,” Lynn’s 1965 single “The Home You’re Tearing Down” and the Wilburns-Tubb collaboration “Hey, Mr. Bluebird.” The disc is filled out with singles (including the moving prison song “The Legend of the Big River Train”), old favorites, terrific harmonies, good humor and the inviting, easy-going manner of the Wilburn Brothers. You can catch reruns of the original program on on RFD-TV, but this soundtrack album is a great souvenir.