STYLE: Country RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 20730- LABEL: Bear Family 1572 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2
Reviewed by Dave Brassington
This two CD set gives us all the RCA sides plus demos that Mary Francis Penick, nicknamed 'Skeeter', recorded with her high school friend Betty Jack Davis and her sister Georgie. Subsequently Skeeter would change her surname to Davis in memory of Betty Jack. In truth the recording career of the original Davis Sisters was only a few sessions in 1952/1953. Signed to RCA, their May 1953 recording of "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know" had become a massive No 1 country hit. Quite exceptional for a new country act. Tragedy struck in August, when driving back from a date, a soldier on leave fell asleep at his wheel and his car crashed into the Davis 'Sisters'. Betty Jack was killed instantly. Skeeter survived to reform the group with Betty Jack's younger sister Georgie. They never were able to recreate the magic of the original Davis Sisters, and by the time rock 'n' roll came along, their strictly country duets were no longer in fashion. Playing guitar on many of these tracks was guitarist Chet Atkins, who, when he became head of RCA's Country Division, re-signed Skeeter and turned her into a successful pop/country artist. Her big 1963 hit "The End Of The World" is far removed from these homely recordings, which are probably more of nostalgia value in most cases, some nice gospel cuts round out the set, and for many years Skeeter Davis has been one of country music's most forthright Christian voices.
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