Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Eddy Arnold show refreshes the soul

Cleveland Press July 18 1972

I'll admit right from the beginning that country music isn't my cup of moonshine.

But I'll also admit that I had a good time at Musicarnival last night where Eddy Arnold, the king of country music, is holding forth all this week.

WHAT HE OFFERS is a prettified, slightly sophisticated form of country music.The orchestra is big, the arrangements are slick and there's nothing rustic about the showmanship.

Arnold is a folksy middle aged , troubadour singing in a voice that is somewhere between crooning and whispering. Sincerity is his forte as he sings of love, romance, lost love, folks breaking up, people who have left. The songs are mostly sad but occasionally he throws a novelty number in among the ballads.

Sometimes the words aren't clear but loyal fans undoubtedly know them by heart. He sang all their favorites, songs that go way back into his lengthy recording career.

PROBABLY THE BEST part of his show is when he dispenses with the orchestra, sits on a darkened stage illuminated by; a single spotlight, takes guitar in hand and offers a selection of odd favorites. He starts by raising his v o i c e in the familiar yodel that opens "Cattle Call" which has become theme and trademark. Then he slips into songs like "That's How Much I Love You" and "Bouquet of Roses" the orchestra rejoins I him in "Rambling Rose"

The audience gave him two standing ovations and he rewarded them with "Anytime" and "Tennessee Waltz."

Eddy Arnold comes on after intermission. The first half of the show is occupied by a trio called the Open Road. These are three young men, all musicians and all singers, who offer a heavily amplified mixture of country and Gospel songs.

THE MAIN PART of that first act, and a tremendous surprise, is a big fellow called Glen Ash. Now a comic who comes on before the star is nothing new. In fact, nothing new is what most of these comics offer.

This man is different. First of all, he is good and he is riotously funny and his stuff is clean. He plays banjo, then turns right around and plays some of the wildest guitar you ever heard. He jokes, sings, does imitations and has the audience right in the palm of his big hand. They loved him. I don't remember another time when an act such as this got a standing ovation. This one did and was deserved.

The entire Eddy Arnold show is a refreshing package.