When Joe Dowell's debut single -- a cover of "Wooden Heart" from Elvis Presley's film G.I. Blues -- became a number one hit in 1961, Smash followed up with an album that gives the impression that Dowell is merely a covers artist. The pleasant but unspectacular Wooden Heart has no original songs, only the hit title track and covers of then-recent hits such as Gene McDaniels' "A Hundred Pounds of Clay" and Bobby Rydell's "Swingin' School." Dowell's second and final Smash album, German American Hits, is likewise a collection of familiar songs, but his singles (excepting "Wooden Heart") are originals, some of which were written by Dowell. It was common in the '60s for artists to cut albums of their versions of recent hits, and Wooden Heart is simply that. ~ Greg Adams
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