Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
In the early 70s, Denny Lile was an up and coming country musician from Louisville, Kentucky. He had a tremendous, soothing voice and wrote very good music. Due to bad luck, bad management, and a penchant for self destruction, the name Denny Lile is relatively unknown. He had some brief notoriety in 1987 when Waylon Jennings covered his song “Fallin’ Out” and it became a top 10 single on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts in 1987. This is the re release of Lile’s 1973 album titled Denny Lile with some additional bonus tracks. It went relatively unnoticed outside of Louisville and would have stayed that way if it wasn’t for Lile’s nephew, who wanted to restore the senior Lile’s legacy.
It is fortunate for us that the younger Lile did all of his due diligence to track down the original recordings. These songs are absolutely divine and as good as any of the early 70’s music that would have been out at the time by The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and New Riders Of the Purple Sage. It is country rock with a strong leaning towards country. Unfortunately, Denny Lile passed away in 1995 from alcohol abuse at 44 years of age. It is another tragedy not to be here to see the resurgence of his music and validation that this music stands the test of time. It is perfectly suited for today’s Americana and alt country audiences.
The song Sugar Daddy (Track 11) is as perfect a country rock song as there ever was. It truly could have been penned by the Burrito’s of The Byrds. Wonderful pedal steel work and dobro really accentuate this song. It is pretty self explanatory what the song is about. But it a a very smartly written song about some very old subject matter:
Say Sugar Daddy gives you candy, And I hear candy makes you true, Say Sugar Daddy gives you candy, Without candy you say Sugar Daddy's through.
It’s the age old struggle, does she love him for the money, or for who he is? It sounds like in this case, it’s all about the money. The girls runs away when the money runs out.
Will You Hate Me When I’m Gone (Track 8) is another really incredible song. This one sounds a little more on the Jim Croce/John Denver side of country. 20 Years ago, I probably would have hated this song; however, the current me really loves it. I am too tired to listen to alot of high energy, fast tempo songs. Will You Hate Me When I’m Gone is more my speed these days.
It really is a shame that Denny Lile never really received the fame and fortune that he deserved. There were so many bands and performers that were worthy of radio hits only to have others sabotage their careers and success. Add Lile to that long list, although I thing he did a few things to sabotage his own career. Either way, this is a fine collection of timeless works that sound great today.