Larry Ballard was one of those guys you think, geez, why didn't he make it so much bigger than he did? But, given how twangy he was, and how true to his roots, he did pretty damn good. Ballard appeared from out of nowhere (well, Detroit, actually...) and released a series of totally killer singles and LPs from 1974-77, and then pretty much just vanished off the radar. He's probably best known as a songwriter, penning rootsy Top Forty hits such as "Neon Lights" and "Honky Tonk Heaven," but for connoiseurs of real-deal 1970s major-label twang, his albums are not to be missed. If you're a fan of, say, Gary Stewart or Delbert McClinton, you're going to want to check this guy out as well.
Larry Ballard "Young Blood And Sweet Country Music" (Capitol, 1974) (LP)
Larry Ballard "Honky Tonk Heaven Is A Hell Of A Place To Be" (Capitol, 1976) (LP)
Larry Ballard "Waiting In The Wings" (Capitol, 1977) (LP)
An outstanding album of soulful, well-crafted honkytonk and classic country. One great song after another. Tracy Nelson has guest vocals on two tracks, adding a rough, rugged, bluesy roadhouse vibe... It's truly remarkable that an artist of such high calibre only made these three albums... But if you can track 'em down, they're well worth your while!
Hick Music Index