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Honky Tonk Masquerade

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iTunes Review

Of the three Flatlanders, Joe Ely was the youngest and the most rock-oriented. His style crystallized on 1978’s Honky Tonk Masquerade. Though it was recorded with producer Chip Young at his studio in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the core band consists of Ely’s longtime Lubbock pals: Steve Keeton on drums, Gregg Wright on bass, Jesse Taylor on guitar and the incomparable Lloyd Maines on pedal steel. It sounds like true country, which is to say, this music couldn’t have come from a city. “Because of the Wind” and “Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown” are dust-blown Texas folk songs, rustically played and delivered with love and ease. Few songs fuse country and rock as fluently as “Cornbread Moon,” “West Texas Waltz” and “Honky Tonkin’.” It isn’t a contrived formula of “country-rock,” just some West Texas boys who know how to play the old music with joy and spontaneity. The album’s great accomplishment might be Butch Hancock’s “Boxcars,” to which Ely applies bongos and fuzzy layers of steel guitar. It sounds incongruous, but not even Woody Guthrie alone with his acoustic could conjure a more chilling ghost story.

Customer Reviews

great A+++

Great country singer and he is my dad!!!

Start Listening Here

If anyone of my non-Texan friends were to ask me where to go if I could recommend just one CD to show the best heart of Texas country music, I'd tell them to start listening here. Willie Nelson, Bob Wills, Cindy Walker, Don Walser, Marcia Ball, Delbert McClinton, and Junior Brown are only a two-step away, pardner.

This album is great

One of the albums that changed my life.


Born: February 9, 1947 in Amarillo, TX

Genre: Country

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

Country-rock singer/songwriter/guitarist Joe Ely was born Earle R. Ely on February 9, 1947, in Amarillo, Texas. His family had worked for the Rock Island Line railroad dating back to the start of the century. When he was 12, the family moved to Lubbock, Texas, where his father ran a used clothing store. Inspired by seeing Jerry Lee Lewis perform when he was a child, Ely aspired to a musical career, and he briefly took violin and steel guitar lessons before turning to the guitar. His father died when...
Full Bio