Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
It says a lot about an act when it can record an album commemorating a 30-year career and have the likes of Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, Montgomery Gentry and George Jones eager to join in the fun. Then again, the Bellamy Brothers have always had a strong legion of fans, including many of their peers in country music.
They also recorded the enduring No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Let Your Love Flow," which marks its 30th anniversary this year as well. The song was the first of the duo's 46 chart hits. Among these are 10 No. 1 country singles, including "Dancin' Cowboys," "For All the Wrong Reasons" and "I Need More of You."
The Florida-based duo performs nearly 200 dates annually and this year will once again visit Europe, where the Bellamys have an enthusiastic fan base.
For their newest Curb Records release, "Angels & Outlaws, Vol. 1" (released March 29), a who's who of country music's elite joins the duo on their hits. Parton joins the brothers for a playful version of "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me)." Montgomery Gentry lends a lot of heart to "Old Hippie."
Charlie Daniels and Bobby Bare join in on a personality-packed "Kids of the Baby Boom." Other participants include Pat Green, Hal Ketchum, Tanya Tucker, David Allan Coe, Chris Hillman, Herb Pederson and Rhonda Vincent.
There are also two new songs. Willie Nelson joins the Bellamys on "Guardian Angel" and John Anderson sings on "Alligator Alley."
David Bellamy credits label president Mike Curb with the idea for the album, then adds with a laugh, "So, if it doesn't work, we are going to blame it on him."
Howard Bellamy says they wanted Parton to sing "Beautiful Body" because "we feel it was tailor-made for her. When she got in the studio she told us that she always wanted to record this song, so it worked out really great."
But when they approached Jackson about participating in the album, he also asked to sing "Beautiful Body," saying he used to perform it during sound checks.
"We thought this was going to be a problem," Howard says. "We didn't want to lose Alan because whatever Alan wanted to sing, we wanted him to sing." But when they explained that Parton was involved and suggested "Whistlin' Dixie" as an alternative, Jackson was very obliging.
"Reggae Cowboy," featuring Coe and Tucker, is one of the most inventive cuts. "We had no concept that he was going to send that thing back with a rap on it," Howard says of Coe. "The idea was wonderful. I loved his lyrics because they were so outlaw. It's hard to harness Coe."
The Bellamys say it was gratifying to know that other artists are fans of their material. "Montgomery Gentry played that song in clubs a lot of times," David says of "Old Hippie." "They didn't even need a lyric sheet for that. They knew every word."
In recording "Angels & Outlaws," the Bellamys ended up with 26 tracks, so there will be a second volume. Some of the acts slated to appear on the next collection are Mel Tillis, his daughter Pam Tillis, Trick Pony, BlackHawk and Chaka Khan.
The Bellamys also recorded "Sweet Caroline" with Neil Diamond and "I Could Be Persuaded" with Cliff Richard, both of which will be included on volume two.
"There's some real cool stuff there," David says. "Curb thought at one point [about doing] a country volume and a pop volume, but I don't think it will actually end up like that. The second volume may be a little more pop, but it has still got a lot of country acts."
Excerpted from the April 9, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.
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