On December 8, 1972, Connie Smith arrived at Music City Recorders for a Navy Hoedown recording appointment. The studio owner and master engineer listed for the sessions was Elvis Presley's original guitarist, former Sun Records engineer and A&R legend, Scotty Moore. The assistant engineer was Al Gore (no relation to the Vice President). Sadly, the tracking sheets listing the musical personnel for Connie Smith's December session have been lost.
The steel guitarist is unquestionably Pete Drake. The fiddle players is no doubt, Johnny Gimble. Their signature styles confirm their presence. Pianist Marvin Hughes was the session leader for many of the Armed Forces shows produced in Nashville. It is speculated that the electric guitarist is the incomparable Grady Martin, the bassist Barry Chance and the drummer, session ace Kenneth Buttrey. There is no speculation however, as to the power and majesty of Connie Smith's performance. Connie was eight years into a string of hits for RCA Victor and her initial wave of popularity was at its zenith. Then, as now, the range o heartfelt emotion she invests into every syllable of every word of a song sets her apart and casts her into an awed realm all her own.
In the course of one hour's time, Miss Smith delivered sixteen textbook performances for the ages. Her vocal power on this session is absolutely stunning.
Of the sixteen titles recorded at the December 8th session, thirteen have been selected here by merit of total performance. The original two track masters are long since lost. Their last known whereabouts was a Music Row studio in Nashville, circa 1990, when producer Snuffy Miller transferred the analog reels into a digital format utilizing the Sony PCM 1630 system. At the time of transferal, Miller embellished some of the tracks with synthesized strings.
The Navy Hoedown sessions were later purchased by Hindsight Records CEO, Mr. Thomas Gramuglia for release on his Country Rewind label's anthology of rare and unreleased country music recordings.
At the request of Mr. Gramuglia, on August 25 and 26, 2014, Connie Smith, along with engineer Mick Conley, Marty Stuart, Paul Martin, Harry Stinson, Terry Wilson, Christian Davis and Kris Wilkinson's Superlative Strings gathered at Apostle Paul's Clubhouse Recording Studio in Henderson, Tennessee and retouched history as lightly as possible. Painstaking measures were taken to embellish these songs in a pure and authentic light. The original 1972 performances were approached with the same care that goes into a frame by frame restoration of a classic film. The intention being to offer critics, scholars and fans alike a twenty-first century out of time experience that lovingly mirrors a golden age that was indeed a perfect time in country music.Track Listing:
1. Just One Time
2. I Never Once Stopped Loving You
3. Louisiana Man
4. Cincinnati, Ohio
5. Just For What I Am
6. Once a Day
7. If It Ain't Love (Let's Leave It Alone)
8. Long Black Limousine
9. The Race Is On
10. Amazing Grace
11. How Great Thou Art