Lively hardcore country from the 1950s
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 04/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set of archival recording captures late-'Fifties honkytonker Johnny Horton at the height of his powers, playing on the KWKH Louisiana Hayride program, which once competed with The Grand Ole Opry for preeminence among the live hillbilly radio shows... Horton was one of the Hayride's biggest draws, a fiery good ole boy whose delivery was just inches away from the rockabilly sound of the times, and this disc gives a great sense of his style and charisma, as well as what his live repertoire was like. There are rollicking versions of his big hits -- "Honky Tonk Man," "Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor," "Battle Of New Orleans," etc. -- as well as amped-up versions of folk tunes like "John Henry" and "Rock Island Line." The between-song banter and emcee introductions also give a glimpse into the was live performances felt on the Hayride stage... Fine sound quality, too! Horton fans, or honkytonk aficionados alike should get a real kick out of this disc."
Memorable '50s stage performances
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 06/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Scena's latest volume shines a welcome light across the final five years of The Singing Fisherman's life. Beginning with 1956's "Honky Tonk Man" (his first chart success) and running through the historical songs with which he etched his lasting memory, Horton's performances seamlessly fuse folk's storytelling with honky-tonk's twang and rockabilly's drive. Horton is revealed as a masterful, driving performer who could hold an audience with a knowing pause, or rev them up with a driving beat and spirited vocal. Horton's performances of "Honky Tonk Man" and the follow-up, "One Woman Man," combine the honky-tonk delivery of Hank Williams with the propulsive beat of rockabilly. His cover of Williams' "Jambalaya" is very much his own, as are revved up readings of "John Henry" and "My Bucket's Got a Hole In It." Horton's second wind of chart smashes is fully represented, including spirited performances of "Johnny Reb," "Battle of New Orleans," "When It's Springtime in Alaska" and "Sink the Bismarck." His mastery of folk singing turns these from novelties into showpieces.Those familiar with Horton's work will treasure the opportunity to hear his songs amplified by an adoring crowd; those who only know the hits will be amazed by Horton's one-of-a-kind folk-rockabilly-country fusion. This may be the best disc yet in what's becoming one of the industry's brightest archival series."
Long-winded MC intros hurt this CD!
Bliggick | Vancouver | 08/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with others that this music and Johnny Horton is great on this CD and when you first hear it you really get the atmosphere of these historic radio transcripts. But all the long-winded intros by the MCs and Homer and Jethro, etc. really hurt repeat listenings and slow things down when you only want to hear Johnny's songs. I ripped my CD and edited out everything except the songs themselves and when Johnny introduces his own songs, and the result was amazing! - kind of like "The Concert Johnny Horton Never Gave". What a hootnanny! This is the way I listen to this album, and I listen to it often. Perhaps in hindsight the manufacturers should have made the intros and songs into seperate tracks so it would be easier for the average person to rip just the songs to their iPod or whatever. Great performances by Johnny Horton and decent sound quality, nevertheless."