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Conway Twitty returns, unfortunately

Country Standard Time Editorial, July 2004

Anita Cochran and Conway Twitty have been off the charts for awhile. In the case of Twitty, it's with good reason - he's been dead since 1993. As for Cochran, she never really has had any success except "What If I Said," a song with Steve Wariner, back in 1997.

But thanks to modern technology, the two are trying to get back on the charts with "(I Want to Hear) A Cheatin' Song," a song Cochran penned two years ago.

With the approval of Twitty's family, Cochran put together a five-line vocal track from samples of recordings by Twitty from the 1980's. She apparently poured over many recordings by Twitty to come up with the various words needed for Cochran's song.

In an article, Cochran acknowledged not being able to find Twitty singing the word "song" the way Cochran needed. The solution? Use the word "wrong." Take off the "wr" and replace it with an "s" sound someplace else from Twitty's recordings.

Twitty's widow, Dee Henry Jenkins, was reported to have said Twitty would have thought it "a great idea."

We're not sure who thought of this idea, but let's hope Jenkins is wrong, and let's hope radio doesn't pounce on this as some sort of great idea either. P> It isn't.

Twitty obviously never sang the song since it wasn't written until well after he passed away. There just seems something way off-base to string together words he sang in other songs and use them here. Whatever happened to the sense of emotion and getting into the songs, the honesty of country music? This idea seems anything but.

As for Cochran, it comes off as some half-baked idea to get back on the charts and resurrect a career that has gone no place for a long time.

Country music is not similar to other types of modern music where samples are part of the norm and expected. There is somewhat of synthetic quality to that kind of musical potpourri.

In fact, this wasn't the first time the dead were brought back to life. Hanks Sr., Jr. and III all did a record together a few years ago. But at least each actually sang the songs. They were not put together through the "benefit" of technology.

The only thing cheating about this song is how it was made. Quite simply, a very very bad idea.