Bill Pursell

Columbia 42619, 1963
Billboard: #9

Nashville produced lots of country-tinged instrumentals in the early Sixties, and when this one first hit the radio, it would have been reasonable to think, "Hey, another Floyd Cramer single." Except that there wasn't any hint of Cramer's patented slip-note piano technique, and suddenly there's this monstrous fuzztone rising up from the groove, and you knew this was something different. "Our Winter Love," written by Canadian trumpeter Johnny Cowell, was the lead track on Columbia's 1962 LP Our Winter Love: Introducing the Piano Magic of Bill Pursell (CL 1992), which was apparently aimed largely at Floyd Cramer fans: the album was fleshed out with covers of country standards, including "I Walk the Line" and "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)." Pursell, conveniently, was in Nashville; after winning an award in composition at Eastman, he performed regularly with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and taught music theory at Vanderbilt. The fuzztone may have been the idea of Grady Martin, who worked on Pursell's sessions, and who had cut a rocker called "The Fuzz" a few years earlier. One further single ("Loved", Columbia 42780) flirted with the charts. Pursell continued to play in Nashville, made more records, and was nominated for two Grammy awards: in 1974, Best Inspirational Recording, for Listen, a collaboration with Ken Medema, and in 1978, Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), for a version of "We Three Kings" by the Christmas Festival Chorale under the auspices of National Geographic. In 1980, Dr. Pursell joined the faculty of Belmont University in Nashville, where he is Assistant Professor of Music today.

Where can I get this on CD?
Collectables issued the Piano Magic LP on CD (COL 5850) with five bonus tracks in 1997. "Our Winter Love," the single, is presently available through iTunes.

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Copyright © 2006 by Charles G. Hill
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