Gary Morris was one of those '80s country stars whose sound was definitely linked to the time... He started off with a reasonably rootsy style, but quickly adopted the smoother, more high-tech production of the times, tilting almost exclusively towards the soft-pop/synthy sound that was popular before the neotrad hat-act guys came in. Morris is perhaps best known for his early hit version of the mega-schmaltzy "Wind Beneath My Wings," which he first recorded in 1983. Here's a quick look at his work...
Gary Morris "Hits" (Warner, 1987)
Morris had a great voice, but lost his country roots amid the cheesy, tinkly, keyboard-and-powerchord-heavy pop production of the '80s. The Hits collection starts out with several sweet, slick country ballads -- "That's the Way It Is" and "Velvet Chains" bring Gary Stewart's weepers to mind, but the album swiftly goes downhill from there. Morris's first big hit, the bombastic ballad, "Wind Beneath My Wings," is simply horrible, as are most of the tracks on here... But the early tunes -- "Velvet Chains," in particular -- are quite nice. Things are pretty much the same on the second volume, as one might imagine, with a couple of uptempo tunes, and a whole lot of schmaltz.
Gary Morris "Greatest Hits, Volume Two" (Warner, 1987)
Gary & Eddie "...Live!" (Carousel Productions/Cartay Records, 1972-?) (LP)
(Produced by Don Weyand)
No. Way. No frickin' way. Okay, well, let me back up a little... This is a funky (as in kinda clunky) live album recorded at the fabled Taylor's Supper Club, a Denver, Colorado nightclub that also ran its own record label and released a few LPs like this one. So here's the "no way" part: the duo of Gary and Eddie, though not fully identified on the album's liner notes, were actually two kids from Fort Worth, Texas named Eddie Johnson and Gary Morris... Yes, our Gary Morris. Johnson and Morris formed a duo in 1969 and played regular gigs at Taylor's for the next five years -- this album is probably circa 1972, with a brace of late '60s/early '70s hits such as "Snowbird," "Never Ending Love," "Gentle On My Mind" and the inevitable run-throughs of "Proud Mary" and "Me And Bobby McGee." The album is just two long tracks of live performances, with no grooves between the song... It's a lively show, though the guys get kind of goofy with their vocals and seem more like a Kingston Trio-ish folk act at times... They are joined on a few tunes by gal singer Teri Hernandez, who the liner notes say was a teenager at the time, and who has two solo numbers, on "Snowbird" and "Crazy Arms..." Dunno what she did later on. The Gary and Eddie duo broke up when Morris moved to Nashville, where he plugged away for several years until his 1981 breakthrough. Eddie Johnson stayed in Colorado and also played in the singing-policemen band, The Lawmen -- he later formed an act with that band's leader, Bo Cotrell and has been in a string of bands over the years. But here is where it all began.
Gary Morris "Gary Morris" (Warner, 1982) (LP)
Gary Morris "Why Lady Why" (Warner, 1983)
Gary Morris "Faded Blue" (Warner, 1982) (LP)
Gary Morris "Anything Goes" (Warner, 1982) (LP)
Gary Morris "Plain Brown Wrapper" (Warner, 1982)
Gary Morris & Crystal Gayle "What If We Fall In Love?" (Warner, 1982)
Gary Morris "Stones" (Universal, 1989)
Gary Morris "These Days" (Capitol, 1990)
Gary Morris "Full Moon, Empty Heart" (Capitol, 1991)
Gary Morris "Every Christmas" (Warner/Capitol, 1988)
Gary Morris "Lone Star Night" (Self-Released, 2001) *
(Produced by Gary Morris & Matt Morris)
Gary Morris "Bring Him Home And Other Prayers" (Self-Released, 2008)
Gary Morris "Gospel Classics, v.1: I Believe" (Self-Released, 2008)
Gary Morris "My Son, Your Christmas" (Self-Released)
Hick Music Index