JOHN ANDERSON > All the People are Talkin’; I Just Came Home to Count the Memories; Eye of a Hurricane; Tokyo, Oklahoma; Countrified

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

His voice was a broken hinge soaked in corn liquor-and that braying tenor could take the sludge off an emotion without thinking. A good ole boy’s good ole boy, John Anderson’s willingness to hurl his heart over the side allowed him to push the traditional envelope in ways-for the day-that were beyond progressive. Label: COLLECTOR’S CHOICE
[RATING: 3.5; 4.5; 3.5; 4; 4]

His voice was a broken hinge soaked in corn liqour-and that braying tenor could take the sludge off an emotion without thinking. A good ole boy’s good ole boy, John Anderson’s willingness to hurl his heart over the side allowed him to push the traditional envelope in ways-for the day-that were beyond progressive. That was the beauty of the young‘un steeped in old school neon-tear-tinged country, he could handle Billy Sherrill-esque strings (“I Just Came Home To Count The Memories”) as easily as he could thromp the reckless blues of Willie Dixon (Countrified‘s “You Can’t Judge A Book”) or Bobby Womack (Tokyo, Oklahoma‘s “It’s All Over Now”). Versatility, indeed, the ability to melt barriers and find an emotion’s chronic intensity, be titdignified (his own “I Wish I Could Write You A Song” from Eye of a Hurricane), unconventional (Tony Joe White’s randy “Do You Have a Garter Belt?” from Countrified), proud and rowdy (Merle Kilgore’s prophylactic binge inducer “Let Somebody Else Drive,” the rebel yowl “Black Sheep,” (both from All the People) or broke and raw (Tokyo‘s “Down In Tennessee”) is what gave Anderson his wallop. By casting aside definitions, Anderson recast country’s wild-eyed truth. Feel it, but feel it completely…be it hushed tenderness (Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” from Memories), or unburnished reality (Bobby Braddock’s “Would You Catch a Falling Star”). It wasn’t country because of arrangements, but the intent, the voice and the man. In a world where Wurlitizer jukeboxes and bottom-shelf whiskey is the reality, not romanticism, this is the witness that makes it all truth, not idealization-ultimately, the stuff real legends are made of.

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