To celebrate his 50 years of making country music, Gene Watson will release Best of the Best: 25 Greatest Hits on his Fourteen Carat Music label on February 14. Watson began his lengthy musical career by recording his first single in 1962.
“My first recording ever was on a little ole independent label that was started up just for this recording session, Sun Valley Records,” says Watson. “Maybe I thought I could sell them at my shows or something. I wrote the record, ‘If It Was That Easy.’ It was not any good, but, boy, I thought that was something. I had my own record.”
Best of the Best features re-recorded versions of Watson’s classics like “Fourteen Carat Mind,” “Love In The Hot Afternoon,” “Farewell Party,” “Memories To Burn,” and more. Steel legend Sonny Garish was brought in to reprise his parts from the originals and the rest of the session players worked to faithfully recreate the arrangements.
Since his first recording in 1962, Watson’s career has boasted two dozen Top 10 hits beginning with “Love In The Hot Afternoon.” In 2002, he was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame.
“It’s unbelievable to me that it’s been 50 years,” says Watson. “For most of those years, it seemed like it took everything I could do to keep working as steady as I needed to. Now that I’m older, it seems like everything comes to me without trying. I’m working more shows than I was 15 years ago.”