Personnel: Carl Dobkins, Jr. (vocals); Walter Garland, Grady Martin, Hank Garland, Harold Bradley (guitar); Howard Carpenter, Wilda Tinsley, Vernal E. Richardson, Solie Fott, George Binkley III, Brenton Banks, Cecil Brower (strings); Owen Bradley (piano, organ); Floyd Cramer, Bill Smith (piano); Buddy Harman (drums).
Audio Mixer: John Strother.
Liner Note Author: Colin Escott.
Recording information: Bradley Film & Recording Studio, Nashville, Tennesee (04/23/1958-06/20/1961); King Studio, Cincinnati, OH (04/23/1958-06/20/1961).
Illustrators: R.A. Andreas; Carl Dobkins, Jr.
Photographers: R.A. Andreas; Carl Dobkins, Jr.
Carl Dobkins Jr. was a purveyor of mild-mannered rock & roll similar to Johnny Tillotson or Ricky Nelson (with even less rockabilly fire) who managed four Billboard hits in 1959-60, the biggest of which was the Top Five "My Heart is an Open Book." His second-biggest hit, "Lucky Devil" (also recorded by Frank Ifield around the same time) peaked at number 25, and his career as a teen idol went downhill from there. Dobkin's Decca recordings, collected on this exhaustive 30-track import, are lighter-than-air confections that often breeze past without making much of an impression, and even his few hits aren't among the most memorable songs of the era. A few novelties ("Three Little Peggies," "Genie") bring welcome variety to the tone, which overall is one of teen-oriented light rock and high school balladry. My Heart is an Open Book offers innocuous fun for collectors, but is otherwise too slight so sustain interest. ~ Greg Adams