Hey, check it out...! That guy looks like Superboy's dad on the Smallville TV show... Or that blonde dude on The Dukes Of Hazzard... Oh, wait! It is that guy! Yup, actor John Schneider, riding high on his role in the early-1980's redneck-oriented action-comedy The Dukes Of Hazzard, started a surprisingly successful side career as a country music singer... He landed several #1 hits and recorded several albums that sold pretty well. He didn't quit his day job, though: after the bubba years ran dry, he moved to a small farm near Metropolis and changed his last name to Kent, and taught his son about truth, justice and the American way. Oh! and then there's the music...
John Schneider "Greatest Hits" (MCA, 1987)
This best-of set collects his mid-'80s material for MCA; his earlier work on the Scotti label remains out of print.
John Schneider "Now Or Never" (Scotti Brothers, 1981) (LP)
John Schneider "White Christmas" (Scotti Brothers, 1981)
Ol' Beau knew which side his bread was buttered on... Right off the bat he recorded a holiday record, which as we all know is pretty much a sure thing no matter what genre you're working in. (By the way, if you like Christmas songs, you might want to check out my Hillbilly Holiday section, which has about a bazillion records just like this one... Ho ho ho!)
John Schneider "Quiet Man" (Scotti Brothers, 1982) (LP)
John Schneider "If You Believe" (Scotti Brothers, 1983) (LP)
(Produced by Michael Stanton & Tony Scotti)
An absolutely dreadful album, with Schneider singing as much in a Jack Jones-y or Michael Bolton-esque pop-crooner mode as anything... There are some talented musicians in the studio crew, including James Burton, Byron Berline and Glen D. Hardin, but they aren't asked to play much twang. Besides, when a major-label album includes a credit for "peddle steel," in its liner notes, you should take that as a warning sign. Schneider eventually did record some semi-okay country stuff, but honestly you can skip this early album and not miss much.
John Schneider "Too Good To Stop Now" (MCA, 1984)
(Produced by Jimmy Bowen)
Well, it might have been hard to take Schneider seriously as a singer, seeing as how he was best known as a TV actor (playing the bubba character, Bo Duke, on Dukes Of Hazzard, and later as Clark Kent's dad on the show Smallville...), but he was actually a pretty good soft-country crooner. This album includes his biggest hits, "I've Been Around Enough To Know" and "Country Girls," which both hit #1, and while it's mostly kinda tame, popped-up material, it ain't that bad, especially considering what the rest of the commercial country scene sounded like at the time.
John Schneider "Tryin' To Outrun The Wind" (MCA, 1985)
John Schneider "A Memory Like You" (MCA, 1985)
John Schneider "Take The Long Way Home" (MCA, 1986)
(Produced by Jimmy Bowen & John Schneider)
Schneider's trying really hard here, to both sound like Merle Haggard and to record some real country music of substance and authenticity. It doesn't always work, though, especially on Side One of the album, which alternates between bombastic and negligible. There's an interesting celeb-fest on his version of "Better Class Of Losers," where both Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings pitch in on guest vocals, but other than that... nothing to write home about. On the second side, though, there are two excellent vocal performances -- "This Time" and "Just When" -- where he really proves himself a fine balladeer (again, sounding a lot like ol' Merle...) He blows it on the rock guitar-heavy title track, which closes the album, and on a pair of socially-themed issue songs ("Broken Promised Land" and "The Auction," two way-too-wordy tunes about the evaporation of the old rural America...) But overall, this is a pretty solid album... worth checking out, if you like the commercial stuff!
John Schneider "You Ain't Seen The Last Of Me" (MCA, 1987)
(Produced by Jimmy Bowen & John Schneider)
God, what a terrible album! There's a reason this was his last record, and that reason is that he'd completely lost it on this disc. Every song on here is super-awful, packed with tinny '80s production (especially the tons of bad, bad, bad, super-processed drums...) as well as numerous long, pointless, belabored electric guitar leads, and some exceptionally flat, flatulent vocals on Schneider's part. It's just a really bad record, which is weird, because he seemed to be doing pretty good just a year earlier. The one promising song on here, "The Redneck Is The Backbone Of America," turns out to be awful, too -- the lyrics are slightly interesting (in a novelty song, social studies kind of way...) but the arrangements are pure crap. Oh, well. This one you can skip.
John Schneider "Worth The Wait" (FaithWorks, 1996)
Hick Music Index