Claude King portrait Claude King


Claude King "More Than Climbing That Mountain, Wolverton Mountain, That Is" (Bear Family, 1994)
This is another one of those gargantuan Bear Family box sets that makes you think, "wow... is someone really gonna want to buy this??" This copy sort of fell in my lap, and I have to admit, it's pretty interesting. Claude King is best (and pretty much only) known for his 1962 hit, "Wolverton Mountain," a goofy banjo-based story-song that was a huge hit at the same time that Johnny Horton had his "history" hits such as "Battle Of New Orleans" and "North To Alaska." Although he was part of the same Louisiana Hayride scene that brought the world Horton, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Kitty Wells and Elvis Presley, King made his mark in a poppier vein than those honky-tonk legends. This 5-CD set starts of with King's handful of scrappy postwar and early '50s recordings, which were all small-label honkytonk affairs, but it was in '61 when he signed with Columbia, and rode in on the wake of Johnny Horton's fame, replicating the same sort of goofy, half-recited story-songs that Horton had perfected. That Kennedy-era stuff is pretty formulaic and repetitive; it's his post-fame material that's most appealling to me -- the strivings of an old-timer in the countrypolitan era. With the steep entry price, I wouldn't exactly urge anybody go rush out and buy this one, but it certainly has its interesting aspects.

Claude King "Wolverton Mountain - 16 Original Classics" (Collectables, 1994)
Here's a more modest, single CD set that gathers King's biggest hits and a few nuggets as well. There are a lot of gems that didn't make it on here, but all things considered, this is a pretty good introduction to his work.

Claude King "Live!" (Goliath, 2007)

Claude King "Cowboy In The White House" (Sun, 2003)


Claude King "Meet Claude King" (Columbia, 1962)

Claude King "Tiger Woman" (Columbia, 1965)

Claude King "I Remember Johnny Horton" (Columbia, 1969) (LP)
(Produced by George Richey)

A nice, but somewhat oddly timed tribute to King's old pal, country star Johnny Horton, who had died in a car crash nine years earlier, in 1960. The title track is a Claude King original, a goofy, old-fashioned recitation song lauding Horton as an all-around great guy who never done nothing wrong, who never smoked or drank or said a mean word about anybody else. The other songs are all covers of Horton oldies, including a few cowritten with King... The new arrangements take some of the punch and bounce out of the songs, but overall this ain't a bad album.

Claude King "Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife" (Columbia, 1970)

Claude King "Chip 'N' Dale's Place" (Columbia, 1971)

Claude King "The Best Of Claude King" (Columbia, 1968)


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