The "twangcore" and "Americana" boom of today owes a large debt to the shaggy twangers and no-hit wonders of yesteryear -- this section looks at the hippiebilly and stoner bands and a few odd, random artists from the 1960s, '70s and early '80s, back before there was anything called "alt-country." This page covers the letter "H."
Emmylou Harris -- see artist profile
John Hartford -- see artist profile
Dan Hicks -- see artist profile
Larry Hosford "AKA Lorenzo" (ABC/Shelter, 1975)
This fella was a fixture in the hippie country scene in Santa Cruz, CA., way back when. He's one of the great alterna-country MIAs, and the songs from his two classic albums just scream out for a single-CD reissue. This album, in particular, is packed with great tunes, including "Taking Applications," "Kings and Queens" and "Wimmin's Got Me Swimmin" ("...in a pool of tears/my baby's got me started, but she won't shift my gears...the lights on Lover's Highway all say stop/if I had another beer, I'd pop its top"). Hosford was one of the '70s great country songsmiths, easily on a par with Harlan Howard's work in the late '50s and 1960s. With a wily understanding of the craft of the novelty song, mixing clever couplets with slice-of-life asides. Combined with his distinctly un-slick hick vocals, it's a winning package.
Larry Hosford "Cross Words" (ABC/Shelter, 1976)
The gag with this album is a series of short acoustic bookends, crossword puzzle clues to words a relationship on the skids ("fight," "goodbye," "the end", etc...) In addition, there are several great Hosford originals, though the writing is a little bit denser than on the first album, and only a couple that are just plain outright catchy toe-tappers. A shame his Okie-billy ode, "Salinas" never made it onto LP, too.
Larry Hosford "Windjammin' " (Windjammer, 2000)
Well, it looks like Hosford isn't exactly as "MIA" as once believed... Turns out he moved back to Santa Cruz and holds down a regular gig as the house band at a local bar. I'm not as into this album as the classic discs above -- the production is too poppy and detracts from his otherwise still-groovy songwriting. But old fans might wanna check this out... Hopefully some day we can also get his Shelter material back in print! (PS - here's a link to Hosford's website: larryhosford.com)
Hick Music Index