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Just Lookin' for a Hit

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Album Review

Released in 1989 just three years after his debut, Just Lookin' for a Hit may have been a bit premature for a greatest-hits album, but it did the trick and sold better than any album Dwight Yoakam had thus far issued. This set is chock-full of the definitive Dwight — at the time — from the opener, a hard rocking version of the Dave Alvin & the Blasters' "Long White Cadillac," to his self-penned honky tonk soul jam "Little Ways," before moving into hardcore barroom twang with Johnny Horton's "Honky Tonk Man" and the rockabilly country kicker "I Got You." Just how closely Yoakam walked the line between hard country and soulful rockabilly is nowhere more evident than it is on his cover of Doc Pomus' "Little Sister." Thankfully his theme "Guitars, Cadillacs" is here as is his duet with k.d. lang on Gram Parsons' "Sin City." Add "I Sang Dixie," "Please, Please Baby," and his duet with Buck Owens on "Steets of Bakersfield." When one considers that these are merely highlights — and some of them arguable choices — from his first three records, the true value of Yoakam as a recording artist who single-handedly revitalized traditional country music becomes evident. This is a smoking hits collection but is only a taste of the treasures that lie within the individual albums themselves.

Biography

Born: 23 October 1956 in Pikeville, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With his stripped-down approach to traditional honky tonk and Bakersfield country, Dwight Yoakam helped return country music to its roots in the late '80s. Like his idols Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams, Yoakam never played by Nashville's rules; consequently, he never dominated the charts like his contemporary Randy Travis. Then again, Travis never played around with the sound and style of country music like Yoakam. On each of his records, he twists around the form enough to make it...
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