David Houston portrait David Houston (1935-1993) was a fixture of producer Billy Sherrill's countrypolitan empire in the 1960s and early '70s. Although he played second fiddle to superstar, Goerge Jones, Houston had a huge hit with his version of "Almost Persuaded," and recorded a number of popular duets with Tammy Wynette. He was also duets partner with singer Barbara Mandrell at the start of her career. Here's a quick look at his work...

Discography - Best-Ofs

David Houston "Greatest Hits" (Epic, 1968) (LP)

David Houston "Greatest Hits, v.2" (Epic, 1971) (LP)

David Houston "The Many Sides Of David Houston" (Columbia-Harmony, 1973) (LP)

David Houston "American Originals" (Sony, 1989)

David Houston "The Best Of David Houston" (Sony/Collector's Choice, 1999)
I've always found Houston's (admittedly moderate) popularity a hard nut to crack... Sure, he had the same Billy Sherrill-studio sound as other Epic artists like George Jones and Tammy Wynette, many of his songs were well-written and engaging. But that voice! That slow, sappy mentality, that hopeless wimpiness! Houston follows the archetypal Nashville orbit: vigorous at the start ("I Do My Swingin' At Home," "After Closing Time...") and then super-sappy and crossover oriented afterwards. The hits slacked off in the middle of the decade, and Houston fell off the radar by '78 or so. I guess, on balance, he was okay, particularly on a best-of set like this... But some of his original albums are sheer torture to get through!

David Houston "Almost Persuaded: 20 Greatest Hits" (Country Stars, 2008)

David Houston "My Elusive Dreams: Epic Country Hits 1963-1974" (T-Bird, 2012)

Discography - Albums

David Houston "New Voice From Nashville" (Epic, 1964) (LP)

David Houston "Twelve Great Country Hits" (Epic, 1965) (LP)

David Houston "Almost Persuaded" (Epic, 1966) (LP)

David Houston "A Loser's Cathedral" (Epic, 1967) (LP)

David Houston "Golden Hymns" (Epic, 1967) (LP)

David Houston & Tammy Wynette "My Elusive Dreams" (Epic, 1967) (LP)

David Houston "You Mean The World To Me" (Epic, 1967) (LP)

David Houston "Already It's Heaven" (Epic, 1968) (LP)

David Houston "Where Love Used To Live/My Woman's Good To Me" (Epic, 1969) (LP)

David Houston "David" (Epic, 1969)

David Houston "Baby, Baby" (Epic, 1970) (LP)

David Houston "The World Of David Houston" (Epic, 1970) (LP)

David Houston "Wonders Of The Wine" (Epic, 1970) (LP)

David Houston "A Woman Always Knows" (Epic, 1971) (LP)

David Houston "The Day That Love Walked In" (Epic, 1972) (LP)

Barbara Mandrell & David Houston "A Perfect Match" (Columbia, 1972) (LP)
(Produced by Billy Sherrill)

Although she'd had a solo album the year before, this duets set was Barbara Mandrell's real coming out party, pairing her with David Houston in an effort to conjure up the same sort of electricity that George Jones had in his chart-topping duets with Tammy Wynette. It's hard not to compare Houston and Jones, particularly as they were often given the same material to record, and an album like this makes it plain that despite his well-publiized personal problems, Jones was always going to win the contest in terms of pure, raw talent. It's Mandrell who comes off best here: although she's being slotted into the same styles as Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, you can sense her latent talent, and on the tracks where her own personality comes through, she shines. By contrast, Houston remains an uncompelling figure -- he can't really belt it out, and you don't really feel it when he croons. What works best here are the uptempo numbers, such as "We've Got Everything But Love," "Perfect Match" and "We're Gonna Make It All The Way," and the tracks where Mandrell gets some solo spotlight, which is the direction where her real fame would lie. There's a surprisingly limp rendition of Billy Braddock's "Something To Brag About," which you can contrast to the George & Tammy version, or the Charlie Louvin/Melba Montgomery hit, and the shortcomings of the Houston/Mandrell duo become painfully clear. A couple of tracks were released as singles, but nothing really happened, and after this, Sherrill concentrated -- wisely -- on developing Mandrell as a solo star.

David Houston "Good Things" (Epic, 1973) (LP)

David Houston "A Man Needs Love" (Epic, 1975) (LP)

David Houston "What A Night" (Epic, 1976) (LP)

David Houston "David Houston" (Starday, 1977)

David Houston "Best" (Gusto, 1978) (LP)

David Houston "From The Heart Of Houston" (Derrick, 1979) (LP)

David Houston "Next Sunday I'm Gonna Be Saved" (Excelsior, 1980) (LP)

David Houston "From Houston To You" (Excelsior, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Ray Baker & Tillman Franks)


Hick Music Index

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