I've been listening to a lot of old classic blues like Leroy Carr, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House and Blind Blake over the last few days mixed in with a diverse selection of classic pop artists.
In fact, one of my favorite albums I've discovered over the past two weeks is (Beach Boy) Dennis Wilson's 1977 album Pacific Ocean Blue, but I'm also continuing to comb through my vast collection of honky-tonk records. So, yeah, it's been a pretty wide-ranging selection of music as usual.
Tonight I've got Volume 2 of my classic honk-tonk offerings that you should check out if honky-tonk country is your thing.
Check out these previous editions of Honky Tonkin' as well:
- Kendall Webb
Longnecks & Short Stories (1992)
This is a wonderful collection of contemporary honky-tonk tunes from the early '90s courtesy of one of that era's top "hat acts."
Mark Chesnutt brought the goods on this record with his George Jones-inspired vocal stylings. The album yielded a number of classic hits including "Old Country," "Old Flames Have New Names" and a gorgeous cover of Hank Jr's. "I'll Think Of Something." The one everybody remembers, however, is the honky-tonk novelty anthem "Bubba Shot The Jukebox."
Don't let that distract you, however. His duet on "Talking To Hank" with the aforementioned Jones, the Cadillac of country honky-tonk singers, is a fine a little romp, and his stunning cover of Steve Earle's "I'm Not Getting Any Better At Goodbyes" might be the album's forgotten highlight.
David Allan Coe
Tennessee Whiskey (1981)
David Allan Coe is one of the more unlikely stars of popular music in the past five decades. A stint in prison was detailed in his shocking 1969 country-blues debut Penitentiary Blues, but then Coe re-imagined himself as one of country's outlaws in the 1970s leading to a solid string of hard-country albums into the early '80s. That includes this gem which contains one of the three definitive versions of the title cut "Tennessee Whiskey" - a hit in later years for both George Jones and Chris Stapleton. On any given day, Coe's version is still the best for my money.
Moot Davis (2004)
Moot Davis never broke out to the mainstream, but his 2004 debut is one of the best honky-tonk albums of the past 15-20 years.
Produced by Dwight Yoakam's former ace guitarist and producer Pete Anderson, Moot Davis plays like a tribute to honky-tonk's '50s and '60s heyday a la Hank Williams, Webb Pierce and early George Jones. It's not a high-profile album, but it's worth searching out on your favorite music service.
Reverb Deluxe (1997)
Like Davis above, The Derailers never broke into the mainstream, but they were at their Bakersfield-influenced best on this 1997 set.
Released on the major label Sire Records, the Derailers bring to mind the music of Buck Owens and his Buckaroos even covering the Harlan Howard-penned "I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Today," a hit for Warren Smith but covered by Buck himself in the early '60s. This is another album that floated under the radar that's worth a spin if you're a fan of honky-tonk music.
Fats Domino (1963)
Alright, so this isn't honky-tonk in the classic country sense, but Fats Domino trading piano licks with Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis in the early '60s is still worth your time. And it's the kind of music that brings to mind a Saturday night in a rowdy New Orleans version of a honky-tonk somewhere in the French Quarter.
The Fat Man is on his game here, and so are Charles and Lewis as they plow through familiar territory on tracks like "Georgia On My Mind," "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," "Chantilly Lace" and "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)."