Although he never totally clicked as a solo star, Wayne Kemp scored big as a songwriter, pitching hits from the late 1960s through the '80s. Among his best-known songs are the George Jones oldie, "Love Bug," George Strait's early hit, "The Fireman" and perhaps most famously, Johnny Cash's '70s smash, "One Piece At A Time." And even though he didn't make it big as a singer, Kemp was a superior country performer, as heard on the albums below... Here's a quick look at his work...
Wayne Kemp "Wayne Kemp" (Decca, 1971) (LP)
(Produced by Walter Haynes)
Kemp had pitched a few songs to stars suchas Conway Twitty and Faron Young, and made a few mild dents in the charts himself before getting to record his first album... This disc collects most of those tunes, including cheating/war of the sexes honky-tonk classics such as "Bar Room Habits," "Who'll Turn Out The Lights," and the delicious "Won't You Come Home (And Talk To A Stranger?)" Another modest hit was the sentimental, gosh-I-love-my-wife novelty song, "Award For An Angel," which kind of balances out the scales for all those songs about drunken rascals who never come home when they should. All of the songs are drenched in pedal steel with solid, loping rhythms, and Kemp's vocals are rock-solid: Moe Bandy sounded just liek this at the start of his career. There are several 100% killer, non-charting album tracks as well, notably "Step Aside (If I Step Out Of Line)" and the heart-rending "Too Close To The End" -- even the album's least remarkable track, a country cover of "Knock Three Times," is pretty damn good. This one's a winner!
Wayne Kemp "Kentucky Sunshine" (MCA, 1974) (LP)
Wayne Kemp "Country Past, Present, Future" (Door Knob, 1983) (LP)
Wayne Kemp "One Song At A Time" (BSW Records, 2005)
Hick Music Index