Dwight Sings Buck
New West Records NW6129
Here’s thinking that good songs are easily half the battle when it comes to making a decent record. When it’s an album of all Buck Owens covers, I’d have to say the battle is halfway won. Talent is the rest of the battle and when it comes to Dwight Yoakam, it’s just about a no brainer. With Dwight Sings Buck, Yoakam pays tribute to his late friend and chief inspiration. Too often cover albums have you scratching wondering why bother. Such is not case with Dwight Sings Buck. Backed by his usual crack ensemble, Yoakam adds just enough of his own subtle twists and turns to a collection of 15 tried and true Owens staples – 11 Top 5 hits including eight chart toppers from the Owens song bag – giving us an album that’s as enjoyable to listen to as the original article. (Visit www.dwightyoakam.com.)
The Original Outlaw
Short of going the import route, career-defining collections from C&W icon Merle Haggard have been few and far between on these shores. (The 4-CD box set Down Every Road covering Hag’s Capitol years is excellent.) Continuing their highly successful Legends of American Music series, the folks at Time-Life rectify things once again on these shores with the 3-CD, 60-track retrospective called Merle Haggard:The Original Outlaw. Beginning with his 1964 cover of Wynn Stewart’s “Sing a Sad Song” for Tally Records and taking us through a couple of tracks from his 2005 comeback album for Capitol Records (Chicago Wind), the career-spanning collection hits one high water after another setting the record straight on the icon Haggard is. Then again, if you‘re any fan of country music you are already well aware of Haggard’s place.
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)