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The Essential Gary Stewart

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Album Review

Over the course of these 20 tracks, listeners get to encounter the rare and focused genius that was Gary Stewart. Covering his career from the late '60s through the 1970s while he was with RCA, these songs testify to a fine singer and interpreter, a great pianist and guitarist, and a singular songwriter. Among the many gems here — there's nary an unnecessary cut in the bunch — are his anthems "Drinkin' Thing" and "Out of Hand" as well as many of his stellar but underappreciated singles, including "She Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)," his fine interpretations of Danny O'Keefe's "Quits" and Michael Murphey's "Backsliders' Wine," and his rather raucous original "Flat Natural Born Good-Timin' Man." Stewart was really a cross-genre artist who rocked as hard as he twanged and had more in common with Jerry Lee Lewis than he did with George Jones, and Essential testifies to this in spades.


Born: 28 May 1945 in Jenkins, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

While much of what passes for contemporary country music in the '90s and 2000s sounds like reheated Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, what's really annoying is what a youth-driven market it has become, leaving many great country performers of the '60s and '70s out in the cold. This is especially irritating when considering the career of Gary Stewart, one of the greatest of the hardcore-honky tonk school who, at his peak in the mid- to late '70s, could write and sing circles around just about any contemporary...
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The Essential Gary Stewart, Gary Stewart
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