Ronnie Milsap: 40 #1 Hits Reviews

Ronnie Milsap: 40 #1 Hits

Long before Lee Roy Parnell copped Delbert McClinton for mainstream country, and Ronnie Dunn challenged Vince Gill for soulful-country-ballad supremacy, Ronnie Milsap brought sanitized R&B to Nashville. But as a full-rounded performer, Milsap also knew his way around deep-dish country, rock & roll, and middle-of-the-road smoothies, all of which he integrated into an enormously popular, piano-based country-pop style that earned him 40 chart-topping singles, six Grammys, and eight CMA awards in the ’70s and ’80s. Drawing on such topflight songwriters as Mike Reid, Burt Bacharach, Kris Kristofferson, and Bob McDill, Milsap built a repertoire that ranged from sunny lopers (“Pure Love”) to emotional meltdowns (“Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends”) and classic Nashville Sound (“I’d Be a Legend in My Time”), growing more adventurous with the envelope-pushing “Stranger in My House” that brought much-needed tension to an often flaccid genre. By the time his reign ended in the ’90s, he could take credit for helping shove country beyond its rural roots, but he’d also lost his edge with songs that dwelled on nostalgia (“Lost in the Fifties Tonight”). This two-CD collection covers the best of it and adds two new cuts, the engaging, Delbert McClinton-like “Livin’ on Love” and the largely forgettable “Time, Love, and Money.” Can Milsap make a comeback? To quote a song title here, “Stranger Things Have Happened.” But not likely. –Alanna Nash

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2 Responses to Ronnie Milsap: 40 #1 Hits Reviews

  • Jerry McDaniel says:
    21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    rattle them speakers with Ronnie Milsap…, March 11, 2004
    By 

    This review is from: Ronnie Milsap: 40 #1 Hits (Audio CD)
    i’ve always loved Milsap’s sound. he was never, to me anyway, harsh or loud on the ears. he’d hold out notes or cry out lines like in the song “Since I Don’t Have You” (track 18 on disc 2) but he’s never been annoyingly loud. the first Milsap song i ever heard was “Smoky Mountain Rain”. this CD contains 40 #1 hits, one Top-5 hit, plus two new songs, a total of 43 songs in all. the lone Top-5 that didn’t make #1 was “Since I Don’t Have You”. the collection ends with the new songs: “Livin’ On Love” {not the song by Alan Jackson!} and “Time, Love, and Money”. the CD goes in chronological order. 35 of the 40 #1 hits were on Billboard, five others were on Radio and Records or Cashbox. Milsap is legendary for his soulful performances and listening to this CD, one can’t help but be transported back in time. who can recall turning on country AND pop radio stations and hearing him belt out “Stranger in the House”, “Any Day Now”, “There’s No Gettin’ Over Me”, etc. with the SAME arrangement! there was no such a thing as a “pop re-mix” like there is now if a country act wants pop airplay. His #1 duet with Kenny Rogers, “Make No Mistake She’s Mine” is also on here. as the CD gets toward the end, you’ll hear the late ’80s Milsap…which sounded like the early ’80s Milsap. some have argued that Milsap wasn’t really country. i’ll go as far as to say he wasn’t any one single music genre. like Ray Stevens, Milsap can be country, pop, soul, R&B, or rock…a true eclectic talent and a must-have CD.

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  • R. Bourbeau "(BOBBY BOURBEAU - MAUITUNES" says:
    20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The most from the best, August 25, 2001
    By 

    This review is from: Ronnie Milsap: 40 #1 Hits (Audio CD)
    Ronnie Milsap has been around a long time, and it’s remarkable just how many hits he’s had over the years–both pop as well as country. 40 #1 Hits truly is the definitive collection from an artist blessed with an incredibly soulful voice and a great talent for piano performance. Although he may not have the gift of sight, he has an incredible amount of vision.

    Beginning with his first country hit, 1974’s “Pure Love,” and ending with two new recordings (“Livin’ on Love” and “Time, Love, and Money,” both included specifically for this release), Milsap’s compilation is a must-have for fans of this country mainstay of the late ’70s who would go on to enjoy phenomenal pop-crossover success in the ’80s. Early standouts include “I’d Be a Legend in My Time,” “Daydreams About Night Things,” and “I’m a Stand by My Woman Man” (a cute response to the late Tammy Wynette’s somewhat notorious signature song [at least to Hillary Rodham Clinton, that is], “Stand by Your Man”).

    But then came 1977, and his piano-driven ballad “It Was Almost Like a Song” opened up the pop-radio audiences to the incredible power of Ronnie Milsap’s voice. Next came “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life,” “Smoky Mountain Rain,” “(There’s) No Getting Over Me” (the biggest pop hit of his career), “Any Day Now,” “He Got You,” and the pop-rock flavor of “Stranger in My House”…each one a major hit on both the pop and country charts.

    As the ’80s began to wane, Milsap’s success on the pop charts did also, as drum-machine-driven techno-pop reflected a change in the record-buying public and radio play, but country radio stayed loyal for a while longer. “Lost in the Fifties Tonight” became a smash in 1985, a tribute to the slow-dance days and featured parts of the oldies classic “In the Still of the Night.” In 1987, Kenny Rogers recorded “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine” as a duet with Milsap; the song, written by Rogers’ previous duet partner Kim Carnes, had previously been a pop “trio” hit for Rogers, Carnes, and James Ingram. Later cuts included here feature Ronnie’s take on the oft-covered ’60s classic “Since I Don’t Have You” and the beautiful, ethereal ballad “Where Do the Nights Go?,” co-written by legendary Nashville composer and sometime-singer Mike Reid.

    While Milsap has struggled in recent years to maintain a voice on country radio, along with dozens of other artists popular in the ’70s and ’80s, this compilation provides the listener with his best product over more than a quarter-century of hitmaking. Ronnie Milsap is not an old man, and I’d like to think that recording-label execs will once again offer him contracts for albums that will be both supported and promoted, at retail and at radio, and that both country- and pop-radio programming directors will not abandon an artist who has given America so many years of exciting, soaring, toe-tapping music.

    He deserves better than he’s gotten in recent years, and I’m confident that Ronnie Milsap’s star will rise again. This compilation is a great way to discover–or revisit–a true “legend in [his] time.”

    Rating: ***** (out of 5) BOB BOURBEAU

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