Wednesday, September 08, 2010

"Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray" by Patsy Cline

What you notice first is the voice: it's big, but gentle - vast, yet intimate... Most shocking to our modern ears, the voice is also utterly distinctive. Although many have tried, and some have even nearly succeeded, theirs was merely mimicry... There's only ever been one Patsy Cline, and there will only ever be one.

I first heard her singing, like a lot of my generation, on television in the 1980s, when mail-order houses were selling her records seemingly faster than they could press them; in a decade largely devoid of sincerity, that voice went a long way towards filling the void.

I could have chosen to put a performance of Walkin' After Midnight or Crazy up here; certainly they are her most famous singles. But there's something perverse in me, and so I chose a more obscure song - and one associated with tobacco, to boot - instead. Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray originally appeared on Cline's eponymous debut album in 1957; here she performs it on Ozark Jubilee.
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