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Honky Tonk Blues 1936-40

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Album Review

Al Dexter's biggest success came during the war years and in the wake of his "Pistol Packin' Mama" hit in 1942, but the Texan singer and songwriter had been releasing material for close to a decade before that, mixing blues, early honky tonk and stripped-down western swing in an accessible style that was sturdy and dependable, if hardly ever flashy. This collection from Jasmine Records brings together two dozen of these early sides recorded in separate sessions in 1936, 1939 and 1941, including "Honky Tonk Blues" (a completely different song than the one Hank Williams recorded under the same title), "Bring It On Home to Me," the solid and even funky "When We Go Honky Tonkin'" and the humorous "Alimony Blues." Dexter's sound sweetened into a precursor to the later so-called Nashville sound as his career progressed, so this set affords a nice glimpse at his relatively rougher roots.

Biography

Born: 04 May 1902 in Jacksonville, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Al Dexter earned a spot in the popular music canon when he wrote "Pistol Packin' Mama" in 1942. Recorded by him a year later, the single sold three million copies — not counting sheet music — in less than two years and was ranked the third most popular song of the war years. Both Bing Crosby (with the Andrews Sisters) and Frank Sinatra recorded "Pistol Packin' Mama" for hits, and the song influenced country's pop-influenced Nashville sound of the '50s. It's difficult to believe, but Dexter...
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Honky Tonk Blues 1936-40, Al Dexter
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