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Goin' Steady With the Blues

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Album Review

Skeets McDonald made records throughout the 1950s, but it wasn't until 1958 that his first album was issued. Goin' Steady with the Blues occupies a somewhat odd niche within the country and pop trends of its time, though the music itself doesn't sound at all forced or trendy. It's not rockabilly, or rock & roll, but certainly has some beats and swagger that show McDonald was being influenced by those currents. It's not straight-ahead commercial late-'50s country either, though it's somewhat in tune with where honky tonk was moving during the era. It's just a comfortable mix of those styles, McDonald singing in a likably laconic and slightly bluesy manner, at times recalling the most country-oriented sides of early Jerry Lee Lewis. If you need a reference to a another bigger figure from the era, if you like some of Marty Robbins' gutsier late-'50s work but want something rootsier, you might well take a shine to at least some of this. McDonald wasn't quite in the league of, say, Lewis or Robbins in either his material or his vocals, which makes this something of a minor pleasure. But it's certainly pleasing enough on its own terms, getting into a slightly tropical mood with "Hawaiian Sea Breeze." The 2009 CD reissue on Righteous adds considerable value with eight bonus tracks, including his most celebrated and famous venture into pure rockabilly, "You Oughta See Grandma Rock," as well as other cuts that generally go for a more frenetic mood and rhythm than the material on the Goin' Steady with the Blues LP (though "Mean and Evil Blues," "The Tattooed Lady," and "Birthday Cake Boogie" skirt novelty territory). It's too bad, however, that the package doesn't include any recording or release dates for the bonus tracks.


Born: 01 October 1915 in Greenway, AR

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Best known for the chart-topper "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes," Skeets McDonald was a honky tonk singer and songwriter whose work helped serve to bridge the gap between country and rock & roll. The youngest of seven children, Enos William McDonald was born on October 1, 1915, in Greenway, AR, and earned his nickname after an incident involving a swarm of mosquitoes. He became interested in music at a young age and, according to McDonald family legend, even traded his hound dog for a guitar...
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Goin' Steady With the Blues, Skeets McDonald
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