Gene Thomas had been around awhile. His 1961 waxing "Sometimes" (United Artists 338) was a classic country ballad with rock underpinnings and a lethal sax part; it crashed mid-chart nationwide but was a substantial hit along the Gulf Coast. In the middle Sixties Gene was working at Acuff-Rose, a major publisher on Nashville's Music Row, and in this capacity he was likely to encounter a great many aspiring singers with big hair and long legs and crooning voices. Well, okay, he ran into one. But one was all Gene needed, and he and Debbe Neville ("Nevills" according to some sources) became a team. They booked the usual studio pros, got Don Gant (later half of the Neon Philharmonic) to produce, and cut some sides. "Go With Me", with a bouncy folk groove, was issued on the local San label, got picked up by Hickory's TRX subsidiary, and crept onto the pop chart in late 1967. "Playboy", which followed, fused its staccato guitar twang, Dylanesque organ, and you-hurt-me-but-I-still-love-you narrative into a Top 20 hit in the spring. An album Hear & Now, TRX LP 1001, with liner notes by Mickey Newbury and three more singles followed, after which Gene and Debbe went their separate ways; perhaps fittingly, they finished up with a remake of "Memories Are Made of This".
Where can I get this on CD?
Sundazed has the complete Hear & Now LP plus non-LP and unreleased sides on Playboy: The Best of Gene and Debbe (SC 11164), also downloadable at iTunes.
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