This is Page 2 of a discography of country music singer Skeeter Davis who was part of Nashville's half-kidding stabs at copying the "girl group" sound of the early 'Sixties... Davis was a super-sincere and strikingly rural vocalist, whose plaintive style stood in contrast to the increasingly bland female vocals of the time. For reviews of her CD releases, check out Page 1 of this artist profile.

LP Discography

Skeeter Davis "I'll Sing You A Song (And Harmonize Too)" (RCA, 1960) (LSP-2197)
This is where Davis (and Chet Atkins) came up with the idea of multi-tracking her voice, so that she could sing harmonies for herself... It became her trademark sound, but was never done better than on this disc, which is generally pretty vigorous and upbeat. This is a goodie!

Skeeter Davis "Here's The Answer" (RCA, 1961) (LPM-2327)
It never hurts to have a gimmick, and following the success of a few "answer song" singles (where Skeeter sang replies to hit songs by male country singers), RCA decided to produce an entire album of these songs, with answers to songs by Eddy Arnold, Hank Locklin and others. 'Course it was also handy that all the songs she covered were on RCA, so the label got to double up her "answers" with the originals. You can either look at it as padding the album out, or giving you a nice compilation record as well as a Skeeter showcase. Weirdest song pairing: her "My Last Date With You," and Floyd Cramer's "Last Date"... which was an instrumental!

Skeeter Davis & Porter Wagoner "Sing Duets" (RCA, 1962) (LPM-2529)
An odd and unfortunate misfire. Along with Skeeter Davis, Porter Wagoner had to be one of the biggest unreconstructed hicks running loose in Nashville at the time, so you'd think that hearing the two of them together would be a thing of wonder. Unfortunately, the musical backing on this album is both manic and monotonous, defined by a bouncing back beat and a remote-control string section that doesn't vary much from song to song. They cover some great tunes, but not much of it sinks in very deep. The exceptions -- strangely enough -- come at the end of the album, where heartsongs like "We Could" and "My Greatest Weakness" give the singers a chance to stretch their elbows a little and work their magic.

Skeeter Davis "The End Of The World" (RCA, 1963) (LSP-2699)
One of the most polished early stabs at co-opting the girl-group sound -- softened rock backbeats and bluesy melodies combine with nimble string arrangements for a goofy -- but delicious -- mix of styles. A couple of tracks even have some hilarious quotes of teenybopper electric guitar riffs, muted but wailing in the background -- a Nashville studio joke that prefigured the soundtracks of teenploitation flicks like Riot At Sunset Strip, etc. by a good few years. Oh, yeah... this is also some of Skeeter's best, most restrained, singing. The title track was one of the biggest hits of her career.

Skeeter Davis "Cloudy - With Occasional Tears" (RCA, 1963) (LPM-2736)
Skeeter's love of girl group music is made more explicit with the opening track, a cover of "I Will Follow Him," and holds true through the rest of the album. Her plainspoken vocals yield interesting results, especially on well-known pop numbers such as Doc Pomus' "Can't Get Used To Loving You," where we're used to slicker sounding singers -- Davis' girl-next-door style adds mildly rough edges which bring a sweetness and vulnerability to the maudlin pop lyrics. Nice album, with pleasantly understated pop arrangements.

Skeeter Davis "Let Me Get Close To You" (RCA, 1964) (LPM-2980)
Wow. Constant tinkering and persistence pay off as Chet Atkins and Skeeter master their girl group style... This is one of her best albums, with a picture-perfect approximation of the Brill Building teen pop sound... and it sure doesn't hurt that several of the songs come straight from the pen of the Goffin-King songwriting team. Not one track on here is sub-par or out of place, and Skeeter's vocals are controlled and understated, and fit the material perfectly: this is an album that deserves to be reissued someday... soon!

Skeeter Davis & Bobby Bare "Tunes For Two" (RCA, 1965) (LPM-3336)
Pretty wimpy. At the time, Bobby Bare was still being cast as a Nashville pop-folkie, sort of one step away from a teenpop singer. Skeeter was in a similar bag, but without the leaden "folk" trappings; neither one of them sound particularly thrilled about having been drafted for this project. Pairing them up like this was a lamentable choice, especially with such slow, slow arrangements -- did someone at RCA canteen forget to buy the coffee that week? Lots of goofy recititations, too. I wouldn't exactly send you off scouring the used record bins of the world looking for this one, though there are a few okay numbers on here that don't ever make it onto the best-of collections -- their harmonies on the Everly Brothers classic, "Let It Be Me", and Buck Owens' "Together Again" are about as heartfelt as this snoozer gets.

Skeeter Davis "Written By The Stars" (RCA, 1965) (LPM-3382)
One of her best albums, and one of the best uses of Nashville production -- Skeeter tackles various well-known country tunes, while Chet Atkins pumps up the volume and twists a few knobs and dials in the booth. The results are often fabulous, especially on tracks such as "Walking The Floor Over You," Buck Owens' "My Heart Skips A Beat," and Hank Williams' "I Can't Help It, " where Atkins gives full reign to an all-out, outlandish girl group sound. I suspect this was one of the few records on which they really let Davis cut loose; it certainly is a strong candidate for a future reissue.

Skeeter Davis "Skeeter Sings Standards" (RCA, 1965) (LPM-3463)
A lesser effort, with slushy, slow arrangements which occasionally reach towards a Dusty Springfield-like modernity. Essentially, though, this vocal showcase album is mired in the pop standards habits of the past. Guess that was the idea to begin with, but it doesn't do much for me.

Skeeter Davis "Singin' In The Summer Sun" (RCA, 1966) (LPM-3567)
A summer-themed album which contains some of her best girl-groupish pop material, particularly her version of "Sunglasses." Mostly fun, occasionally sappy, and awfully cute.

Skeeter Davis "My Heart's In The Country" (RCA, 1966) (LSP-3667)
This isn't the traditionalist album you might expect, but it's still pretty solid... Includes a bunch of old favorites -- songs like "Ain't Had No Lovin'" and "Evil On Your Mind", as well as an early Loretta Lynn cover ("You Ain't Woman Enough") -- all handled in a brisk, sleek Nashville poppiness. The arrangements on this album aren't standouts, but neither are they disappointments... a little restrained, but not overboard or goofy. I particularly like the jovial novelty vibe on "Guess My Eyes Were Bigger Than My Heart".

Skeeter Davis "Hand In Hand With Jesus" (RCA, 1967) (LSP-3763)
Absolutely wonderful -- one of her best albums, and one of the best country gospel records you're ever likely to hear. This is due to the intersection of a couple of pleasant factors, particularly the fact that neither she nor the RCA producers felt the need to push things musically, as they did on her more "pop" material. Thus, Skeeter's easygoing sincerity and matter-of-fact affection for the material is perfectly matched by the simple, relaxed arrangements. I'm not that into the whole Jesus thing, but this is a very enjoyable album. Nice use of her whole multitracked vocal routine, too.

Skeeter Davis "What Does It Take (To Keep A Man Like You Satisfied?)" (RCA, 1967) (LPM-3876)
The doleful album title and the cover art, with Skeeter gazing out a curtained window, would suggest a mopey, pop-ballad collection. Surprise! This is actually one of her most inventive, girl-groupish records, with some creative, peppy arrangements by Felton Jarvis (which are balanced, it should be admitted, by sleepier stuff by Bill Walker...) This is a cool disc.

Skeeter Davis "Skeeter Davis Sings Buddy Holly" (RCA, 1967) (LPM-3790)
The Nashville cats were definitely having a lot of fun hamming it up on these recordings, with varied results. The pizzicato strings on "That'll Be the Day", for example, are rather dubious, though the Beatles-y guitar work throughout is kind of a gas. Still, even though Skeeter's vocals have a similarly thin quality, this album doesn't really match the feel of Buddy Holly's own work. It's as if, after coming up with the concept, the Music City 'Sixties sophisticates couldn't bring themselves to go through with playing such hokey old rock material the way it was originally intended. Pity. This was a real missed opportunity, and if they'd gone more for Skeeter's girl-groupy perkiness, and less for the pop audience, they'd have made a much better record.

Skeeter Davis "Why So Lonely" (RCA, 1968) (LSP-3960)
The bouncy girl-group sound is absent on this album, which goes for more of a string-section pop vocals style. It doesn't suck, it's just a different kind vibe... or, as the liner notes put it, "a beautiful and tasteful collection of songs... Skeeter sings them with tenderness and poignant sadness..." Normally, when Nashville writing gets all high-falutin' like that, it's a major warning sign, but this album should be fine for most Skeeter fans.

Skeeter Davis "I Love Flatt & Scruggs" (RCA, 1968) (LSP-4055)
A nice tribute to bluegrass legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. As the liner notes point out, at the time this album was made, Flatt & Scruggs were making regular appearances on the "Beverly Hillbillies" TV show and playing gigs at trendy rock-folk clubs, so Davis' electric guitar-and-pedal steel arrangements for all these old bluegrass tunes wasn't so far off the mark -- in fact, it wasn't that different than what the boys were doing on their own albums at the time. Not the greatest renditions of this material, but Skeeter does get inside the songs and convincingly brings out the old-fashioned sentimentality from the lyrics.

Skeeter Davis "The Closest Thing To Love" (RCA, 1969) (LSP-4124)
Frighteningly perky (and shamelessly corny) countrypolitan, with a slight string section overdose. Still, Skeeter sounds like she's having a great time; she enjoys hamming it up and it's kind of hard to hold it against her, at least in this instance. Example: the country-folk corn of "Keep Baltimore Beautiful" (by not leaving town...) and her version of "Angel Of The Morning", which predates the hit version by a bit. Overall, Ronny Light's arrangments are pretty overwrought, but the effect is more of a charming time-capsule, rather than a teeth-clenching torture. Goofy but cute.

Skeeter Davis "A Place In The Country" (RCA, 1970) (LSP 4310)
Another fine Skeeter album, probably a bit above average. One song, "Let's Get Together," is a duet with songwriter George Hamilton IV.

Skeeter Davis & Bobby Bare "Your Husband, My Wife" (RCA, 1970) (LSP-4335)

Skeeter Davis "It's Hard To Be Woman" (RCA, 1971) (LSP 4382)
(Produced by Ronny Light)

Skeeter Davis "Skeeter" (RCA, 1971) (LSP-4486)
(Produced by Ronny Light)

Features the not-actually-autobiographical "Bus Fare To Kentucky", and a version of Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through The Night". There are also a slew of suprisingly effective, ornately produced pop ballads: even with all the strings and such, this is a pretty engrossing album. The church chorus blues of "Sad Situation" and perky Brill Building retro-kitsch of "Fool Born Every Minute" are particularly worth checking out, as well as the hippie-dippy peace-through-music sentiments of "Fall In With The Band." A nice album.

Skeeter Davis "Love Takes A Lot Of My Time" (RCA, 1971) (LSP 4557)
(Produced by Ronny Light)

An interesting choice of material, this takes a much more low-key approach than many of her earlier records... When she's flat-out crooning and kicking back, Skeeter turns out to be an even better vocalist than we'd ever expected. My guess is that she had a fair amount of creative control over this album, and although some of the cover tunes are less than captivating (such as the James Taylor and Gordon Lightfoot material...) there's new stuff on here that's pretty awesome, particularly a few tunes that Davis wrote herself... Worth checking out.

Skeeter Davis "Skeeter Sings Dolly" (RCA, 1972) (LSP-4732)
(Produced by Ronny Light)

A good-natured tribute to one of Skeeter's fellow hicks... She and Dolly had a lot in common -- not the least of which was that they were on the same record label. Also, they were both resolutely rural at heart, disarmingly down-to-earth, and Skeeter's vocal style is fairly close to Dolly's. Likewise, the early '70s countrypolitan arrangements here are pretty similar to Dolly's albums, with a mix of Jerry Reed-style chicken pickin' and florid string sections... A nice record, if you can get into it (though it's a pity that this album didn't include "Jolene"... but I guess you can't have anything...)

Skeeter Davis "Bring It On Home" (RCA, 1972) (LSP 4642)
(Produced by Ronny Light)

Or, Skeeter's land-o-cover tunes. Her version of "One Tin Soldier" is a bit of a disappointment: it shows where her political sympathies lay, but suffers from the same rinky-dink powder-puff pop sound as the rest of the album. Other covers include "Never Ending Song Of Love", "Loving Him Was Easier", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Take Me Home Country Roads," and a particularly chirpy version of "Reason To Believe." Chet Atkins' arrangement of "He Loved Me Too Little, Too Late" provides scant respite from Ronny Light's perky production -- in fact, it's a Skeeter Davis original, "All I Ever Wanted Was Love" that's the standout on this disc.

Skeeter Davis "Mary Frances" (RCA, 1973) (LSP-4200)
(Produced by Ronny Light)

I'd have to class this one in the "fairly disasterous" category... swooping, yet somewhat thin, countrypolitan arrangements frame some occasionally torturous vocals by Skeeter. Mainly it's the material that's the weak point, but the band is kind of iffy, too... that odd Nashville Cat mix of indifference and inappropriate experimentation. At any rate, her cover of "Son of A Preacher Man" is not a career high, and the "Windmills Of Your Mind" (originally a theme from a '60s film...) is way pretentious... Yeah, you could get into this stuff, but it'd mostly be for kitsch value, not for artistic resonance. Of note, though, are "The Chokin' Kind" and "I Didn't Cry Today", a mild throwback to her girl group days...

Skeeter Davis "I Can't Believe It's Over" (RCA, 1973) (AP1-0322)
(Produced by Ronny Light)

An odd sort of hodge-podgy later album at the end of her RCA tenure... Skeeter's matched up with several different producers and arrangers in a series of recording sessions... The material is mainly soft-pop countrypolitan, with some odd cover tunes ("I'll Be There," for example), overwritten ballads and the like. Not very country, but it also doesn't suck.

Skeeter Davis "The Hillbilly Singer" (RCA, 1973) (LSP-4818)
(Produced by Ronny Light)

The ability of these early-'70s Nashville city slickers to muck up even the most straightforward material was pretty remarkable. Arguably Skeeter's major-label swan song was supposed to be a back-to-basics album, packed with hard country classics such as "Crazy Arms," "You Done Me Wrong," and "Making Believe", as well as the title track, a Skeeter original about simpler times. But Ronny Light's studio crew couldn't resist lavishing extra little touches into the mix, typical of the countrypolitan impulse to "improve" on old songs in ways that defeat the purpose of the original tune. Even Skeeter sounds a bit stiff; this is worth checking out, but not as fun as it should have been.

Skeeter Davis/Sandy Posey "Best Of..." (Gusto, 1978) (GT-0005)
After leaving RCA, Skeeter briefly recorded for the indie/cheapie label, Gusto. Her stuff there didn't rock the charts, but fans will probably dig it. This is an odd little dual best-of (four songs by each artist, Skeeter's make up Side Two...) which was apparently released in advance of the "best of" listed below. Two of Skeeter's tracks -- "He Says The Same Things To Me" and "I Can't Stay Mad At You" -- do not appear on the other album, and hence I guess this is a collector's item of sorts.

Skeeter Davis "Best Of The Best" (Gusto, 1978) (GT-0014)
Strangely enough, this is a really cool album. Despite the title, its not really accurate to call this a "best-of", since what we have here are studio re-recordings of a bunch of her old hits, and a few assorted oldies. This hews pretty cosely to her "girl-group" style, and the results are pretty good. The arrangements are solid, Skeeter's voice sounds undiminished, and she sounds unhurried and unpressured. This is actually one of her best, most cohesive albums.

Skeeter Davis "Heartstrings" (Tudor, 1983) (TR 112804)
(Produced by Paul Whitehead)

Skeeter Davis "Live Wire" (51 West) (Q 16295)
(Produced by Paul Whitehead)

Skeeter Davis & NRBQ "She Sings, They Play" (Rounder, 1985)
(Produced by Terry Adams & Joey Spampinato)


Skeeter Davis "Best Of Skeeter Davis" (RCA, 1967) (LSP-3374)

Skeeter Davis "Best Of Skeeter Davis v. 2" (RCA, 1973) (APL1-0190)
A real wowzer! The pacing and selection are excellent, succinctly capturing Skeeter's strengths and skillfully slipping past her missteps. Even the lavish countrypolitan tracks are well-chosen, including surprisingly effective versions of "One Tin Soldier" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"... The album weaves between uptown material and heartfelt ballads, and on Side Two she even reprises some of her best old girl-group material, such as "Sunglasses" and "Let Me Get Close To You." Recommended!

Skeeter Davis "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know" (RCA-Camden, 1964) (CAL-818)

Skeeter Davis "Blueberry Hill And Other Favorites" (RCA-Camden, 1965) (CAL-899)

Skeeter Davis "You've Got A Friend" (RCA-Camden) (CAS-1173)

Skeeter Davis "Easy To Love" (RCA-Camden, 1970) (CAS-2367)
Actually, a cheapie reissue of Let Me Get Close To You, with a few less tracks.

Skeeter Davis "He Wakes Me With A Kiss Every Morning" (RCA-Camden, 1974) (ACL-1-0622)

Skeeter Davis "Best Of Skeeter Davis" (RCA-Camden, 1978) (ACL-7061)
Basically the same terrain as the other RCA collections, just with less exciting packaging.

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