Are you a George Jones guy in a Garth Brooks world? A Loretta Lynn gal trying to understand why people still call Shania Twain a "country" artist?
Well, then this website is for you! Here's your chance to read all about Nashville pop, from the late-'50s "Nashville Sound" and the "countrypolitan" scene of the '70s to today's chart-toppers and pretty-boy hat acts, seen through the lens of DJ Joe Sixpack, a hick music know-it-all with a heart of gold...
Your comments and suggestions are welcome, particularly suggestions for artists or albums I might have missed. Other types of twang are reviewed elsewhere in my Hick Music Guide.
This is the first page covering the letter "D"
I guess I still have an irrational affection for Lacy J. Dalton, since I still remember the days when she was still known as "Jill Croston," and had been adopted adopted by the fab folks at the legendary hippiebilly station, KFAT. But listening back to her early '80s hits, I have to admit, she was pretty cheesy. "Crazy Blue Eyes" has a nice Waylonesque lope to it, but the island-y pop lilt of "Takin' It Easy" is pretty far afield, countrywise. Her work had a soulful, rural core to it, but it got stretched pretty thin among the countrypolitan slick stuff. She's okay, though -- this is a strong collection of her best work, if you ever wanna check her out.
Dale Daniel "Luck Of Our Own" (BNA, 1994)
(Produced by Jerry Crutchfield)
Fairly generic early-'90s Nashville fare, with an okay bouncy, uptempo opening track, "In The Middle Of A Miracle," and then a bunch of less vigorous stuff, much of which has tinkly, thin-sounding production that sounds like leftovers from the 'Eighties. She's an okay singer, I guess, but doesn't make much of an impression. Strangely enough, the Nashville establishment seems to have agreed: not a single track on here got the least bit of traction in the Billboard charts... That's harsh! I mean, she kinda sounds like everybody else, so she must have had some major strikes against her to get so little love from the hitmakers... Wonder what the deal was... (?)
Inspired by the funky twang of the Allman Brother's pioneering southern rock, fiddler Charlie Daniels formed his own crossover group in the early '70s, although he was decidedly more country than Gregg, Duane, and their ilk. Daniels loves story songs more than anything else, and in the early days he used to make fun of good ol' boys in popular tunes like "Uneasy Rider," at least until he realized that smoking pot didn't mean you couldn't be a redneck yourself. Over the years, Daniels has become the same kind of grouchy, ultraconservative caricature as Hank, Jr., tweaking as many liberal noses as he can and rousing the gun-toting NRA faithful to drink another six-pack and let them nosey ACLU types know they just better watch where they step. In between, there were a few woeful twang-prog operettas, though thankfully Daniels left that kind of would-be profundity behind sometime in the '80s. This 2-CD set covers his career pretty well -- with all the fun early hits and the Bubba-billy stuff that came later on. If the later right-winger anthems don't interest you, you might want to just check out the early albums instead, particularly 1975's
Charlie Daniels "Million Mile Reflections" (Columbia, 1979)
One of his least country-sounding albums. Even as he makes fun of disco music on the album's opener, "Passing Lane," Daniels and his boys sure seem pretty captivated by it's sound. Daniels's own fiddle is hardly to be heard amid the ZZ Toppish Southern rock rhythms and jittery disco keyboards. If it weren't for the inclusion of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," which went to the top of the charts, you'd clearly be forgiven if you mistook this album for a late-night coke party with Tom Scott and some of his jazz-fusion pals. I guess it's kind of funky, and "of its time," but I find this disc a little bit scary.
(Produced by Charlie Daniels & Patrick Kelly)
A 2-CD set of rerecorded versions of old hits ("Uneasy Rider," "Devil Went Down To Georgia," et. al. and patriotic anthems ("In America," "This Ain't No Rag..."), along with crowd-pleasers like "Drinkin' My Baby Away" and (ulp!) "Freebird" thrown in for good measure. Travis Tritt joins the old coot for a duet on "Southern Boy," and Daniels shows that he still knows how to shred a violin bow now and then. Also includes several video clips for the faithful...
This is perhaps the best possible collecton of this sometimes-scary sunshine country version of the ugly-guy-flanked-by-two-glitzy-gals showbiz model set by Tony Orlando & Dawn. This trio originally worked as Charley Pride's backup singers, then in 1976 they set out on a solo career. I suspect that main man Dave Rowlands must have been a hard boss to work for -- the booklet for this CD shows pictures of him with over a half dozen different lineups of the "Sugar" backup singers, one doomed set of feathered, sequined, boa-ed, tube-topped anorexics after another. This 23-song best-of includes material from all the albums D&S released in the late 1970s (although it skips early '80s outings such as Rowland's snarkily-titled "solo" album, Sugar Free, from 1982). The music is pretty over-the-top, a glossy collision of perky pop-country and dancefloor disco production ideas. The vocals vary -- Rowland himself is pretty leaden, but mixes nicely into the group sound; one of the gals did a great Linda Ronstadt imitation, others sounded nearly tone-deaf. In "hick" terms, this is mostly way too pop, more useful now as a historical reminder of Nashville's excesses in the '70s than as memorable country music. There are a few exceptions, such as "Golden Tears" and "The Door Is Always Open," but mostly this stuff just ain't twangy enuf.
(Produced by Scott Hendricks & Jude Cole)
Super-generic rock-flavored country, wearing the tough-but-sensitive country stud act out to the hilt, with plenty of rehashed Southern rockisms, contrasted by swooping string sections on the slower tunes. Very much a Toby Keith wannabee ( ...and what a scary thought that is!) You can pass on this one.
This best-of retrospective spans back to Davis's early singles on Capitol and Arista, and includes a few new tunes, for good measure. It's all very Reba-delic, from the tortured, exaggerated twang to the monotonous obsession with girl-meets-boy romance. Still, she's okay on the upbeat numbers... At least she doesn't delve into the slow, drippy stuff as much as McEntire does; there's some syrup... just not as much. All in all, though, Davis is a pretty underwhelming performer. This is the disc to pick up if you want to check her out, but it didn't make a big impression on me...
Skeeter Davis - see artist discography
A singer-songwriterish protege of Garth Brooks (she wrote his hits "The Gift" and "Wolves"), Davis hailed from Montana and made a mild splash as a songwriter before landing a brief major label contract as a performer in her own right... This album is probably too sedate for the average Top Country fan; indeed, the lone sinlge tanked out on the charts when was released, prompting Davis's retreat into critic's darling indie-artist status. But for those inclined towards the more contemplative end of things, Davis might make a fine compliment to, say, your old Nanci Griffith albums. Even includes a sweet spot of western swing right at the end there, to make sure we all know that this is a real country gal.
Commercial Country Albums - More Letter "D"
Hick Music Index