Dave Kirby (1939-2004) was one of Nashville's most sought-after session guitarists in the 1960s and '70s, playing on countless albums, from Top Ten hits to the indie-est of indies. Kirby also wrote several extraordinarily successful songs, most notably "Is Anybody Going To San Antone," one of the most widely covered songs of the 'Seventies, and "There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang," which was a hit for Johnny Cash and Waylong Jennings. Born in Texas, Kirby was a prolific session player though he had only modest success as a solo artist, releasing a handful of singles and only one full album during his lifetime. He married singer Leona Williams in 1985, and died in 2004, after a struggle with pancreatic cancer. Here's a quick look at his work...
Dave Kirby "Singer, Picker, Writer" (Dot, 1973) (LP)
(Produced by Pete Drake)
The lone solo album by the late Dave Kirby, an A-list session picker who had written several extraordinarily successful songs as well. It turns out he wasn't half bad at singing a tune, either. Oh, sure, he had the same sort of rough-edged dorkiness as, say, Roger Miller or Harlan Howard, but he wore it well, and a whole lot of personality comes through on these sessions, which were produced by Pete Drake. This album starts off with a folkie rendition of one of his best-known songs, "Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone," and slides into others from his repertoire, more off the beaten track, but no less engaging. Many of Kirby's songs are more like rough outlines, deft, evocative phrases lined up with catchy choruses -- like many songwriters of his era, he mined his own particular turf, mainly songs about drifters who were nostalgic for the comforts of their backwoods Southern homes. The sentiments of "San Antone" are repeated in "Streets Of Chicago" and "Alabama Sundown," while other songs like "I Wish I Didn't Have To Miss You" take a more interpersonal tack. Kirby didn't score any chart hits off this album, but for fans of 'Seventies country, this one's a gem.
Dave Kirby "Is Anybody Going To San Antone?" (Heart Of Texas, 2008)
Hick Music Index