The "twangcore" and "Americana" boom of today owes a large debt to the shaggy twangers and no-hit wonders of yesteryear -- this section looks at the hippiebilly and stoner bands and a few odd, random artists from the 1960s, '70s and early '80s, back before there was anything called "alt-country." This page covers the letter "G."
Rudy Gaddis "Garden Of Roses" (Custom Sound Studios) (LP)
Way back in 1955, Texas native Rudy Gaddis recorded an Atomic Age hillbilly novelty single for the Starday label called "Uranium Fever." The arrangement was a rehash of Hank Williams' "Kawliga," with Gaddis' vocals strongly recalling those of Hank Snow, and the single was one of a handful he released over the years. This album seems to be his only full-length release... It's all original material recorded several years later (though I'm not quite sure when...) and the Rudy Gaddis pictured on the cover looks pretty durn middle aged... It looks early '70s to me, but the tracks may have been recorded much earlier... Gaddis passed away in 2006.
Bobby Gage "Leaving It Up To You" (R & G Record Productions, 196--) (LP)
(Produced by Joe Saia)
A very private pressing from an East Coast bar-band singer working his way through a bunch of melodic country standards of a late '50s/early '60s vintage, stuff like "Fraulein," "Wolverton Mountain" and "King Without A Queen." No date on this album -- I'm guessing 1964 or '65, but it coulda been a couple of years earlier -- or later, either way. Anyway, Gage and his band weren't all that great, but they sure were authentic. If you wanna hear what a country covers artist sounded like in Boston, circa '65, this album's worth a spin. Not sure if Gage recorded other albums, but he did play at various clubs in Massachusetts at least through the 1980s, when he was fronting a band called The Countriaires. Anyone have more info about this guy?
Gail And Denny "Grand Ole Opry Dream" (Full Circle) (LP)
A middle-aged couple from the rural suburbs near Seattle, Washington, Denny and Gail Secord led their own band for many years, with backing from locals such as fiddler Jerry Critchfield. In 1981 they won a talent contest sponsored by the National Grange association, and not long after that traveled to Nashville to record this album. The played some standards, with a hefty dose of tuneful heartsongs by Hank Snow and his generation -- "You're The Reason," "It Don't Hurt Anymore," "Bumming Around," "Time Changes Everything" -- as well as instrumental showcases such as "Chime Bells," "Draggin' The Bow" and "Orange Blossom Special." I'm not sure, but I think the title track, "Grand Ole Opry Dream," may have been an original.
The Gairrett Brothers "Lovers And Warriors" (Black Gold Records) (LP)
"...and warriors??" WTF? Oh, well, whatever. These guys seem to have been from around Springfield, Oregon and were active up there in the early 1980s... I dunno what all that warrior jazz was about, but they do seem to have been a local country band. Anyone out there with more info? I'm all ears!
Rob Galbraith "Nashville Dirt" (Columbia, 1970)
Originally with a background in R&B and soul, Rob Galbraith was a fixture in late 1960s/early '70s Nashville scene, working as a session musician and producer, notable for his work with country superstar Ronnie Milsap in the '70s and '80s, and for producing several albums for the musically eclectic cult favorite Larry Jon Wilson. This was Galbraith's first solo album, a mix of rock, soul and country that reflects the musical diversity bubbling under the surface of Music City's countrypolitan monolith; in 1972 he recorded an album with songwriter Dennis Linde, in the semi-rootsy rock band called Jubal. Galbraith's efforts as a recording artist weren't commercial triumphs, and he found more success behind the scenes, notably as co-owner of a music publishing company formed in partnership with Ronnie Milsap.
Rob Galbraith "Throw Me A Bone" (RCA, 1976)
(Produced by Rob Galbraith)
This one's more of a horn-rock/white soul album, but again, that does show some of the musical diversity bubbling underneath the surface of Nashville's country music monolith...
Rob Galbraith "Too Long At The Fair" (Tri-State, 2004)
Patty Gallagher & The Showdowners "By Request" (Little Richie Records, 197--?) (LP)
(Produced by Bob Hale)
Ms. Gallagher was identified with the Denver, Colorado country scene throughout the entire 1970s... I'm not sure when this album came out, though the boys in the band look pretty darn "Seventies" to me, so I'll go out on a limb and guess this was recorded around 1975-76... It includes some original material, notably "She Goes Runnin' Round" by bassist Wil Karl and "My World Is Sittin' Tipsy" by Gallagher. She gets top billing, though an awful lot of the spotlight gets shed on Gary Courtney, who's pictured with her on the cover; other band members include guitarist Gary Courtney and steel player Harley Brendal. To be sure, this is not a top-notch production, even for the indiebilly genre, but it is the kind of record you can get to love just for it's sheer authenticity and undisguised flaws. Also, when they burst into an uneven lounge-funk riff on their version of "Crawdad," it's a real hoot. The original songs are pretty charming, though like the rest of the record, they're a little clumsily laid out. It's fun stuff, though... definitely locals!
Billy Galvin "Monkeyin' Around" (Audio Media Records, 1975-?) (LP)
(Produced by Mike Stone & Billy Galvin)
A comedically-themed album from a guy who started out in Nashville doing bar gigs at Roger Miller's club in the early 1970s. Galvin later moved into television, becoming the producer of the "Country Standard Time" and "Music City Tonight" variety shows, along with countless one-off specials, including several projects developed with producer Jim Owens. The album title is a reference to the novelty number "Signifyin' Monkey," which leads the album off... He also covers "She's Acting Single (I'm Drinking Doubles)," "Every Time You Touch Me I Get High" and (frighteningly enough) a version of Olivia Newton John's "I Honestly Love You." I'm not sure when this one came out, but it must have been close to the beginning of his career, not long after he came to Nashville in '72. Apparently super-picker Phil Baugh sat in on these sessions, though no other musicians are identified in the liner notes...
Johnny Galvin "Will it Rain Today" (Fathom Records, 1975-?) (LP)
(Produced by Johnny Galvin)
Yeah, I never heard of him, either, but Tommy Collins wrote some cheerful liner notes, recalling some gigs he played with Galvin up in the Pacific Northwest, so that kinda got my attention. Although Collins talks about playing at a bar in Oregon, it looks like Johnny Galvin was actually from around Spokane, Washington... This album is mostly cover songs, but with some tasty choices, such as the Bonnie Owens song, "Somewhere Between," which was on a Merle Haggard album in 1967... There's also another inevitable rendition of "Me And Bobbie McGee," as well as three originals written by Galvin.
Norma Gamble "Her Kind Of Country" (Pentagon, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Alan L. Dote)
Ms. Gamble was a singer from Santa Clara, California (near San Jose) who wrote most of the songs on this album, with one credited to producer Alan L. Dote, and a couple co-written by Anna Pierce. The liner notes say she played gigs in Vegas and Reno, though overall this seems like a pretty "private" private-press album.
The Gamblers "Start It All Over Again" (Grenadier Records, 1983-?) (LP)
(Produced by Bob McCracken & Tom Soares)
A surprisingly strong, independently-produced pop-oriented country album by a band from Fall River, Massachusetts... This album features a wealth of well-crafted original material and strong performances by the band, all well framed by the slick-but-not-too-slick production, which really was on a ready-for-radio level. The only weak link is from the band's female singer -- who like the rest of the band is unidentified in the liner notes, but sings lead on several songs, and is not quite on the same level as the rest of the band. Overall, though, this seems like a band that really coulda-shoulda made it. Oh, well -- go figure! Not sure of the release date - some folks say the "late '70s," though one source says 1983, and the catalog number might suggest a 1977 release. Any info would be welcome!
Dave Gann "Crystal River Valley" (CMC, 1985)
(Produced by Mark Macgruder)
A picker-singer from Grand Junction, Colorado... I haven't heard this one, but I'm curious. It looks like it would be more of a folk album, although he does have a song promisingly titled, "Willie Sings With Everyone But Me," which I'm gonna add to my list of Willie Nelson tribute songs...
Gene Rockwell Gant "Makin' Sweet Music" (Morrhythm Records) (LP)
(Produced by Gene R. Gant & Cliffie Stone)
Bill Gardner "First Time Around: Songs Of The Country" (Studio 40, 1981-?) (LP)
Country ballads and a bit of West Coast twang, with covers of stuff like "Crazy," "From A Jack To A King," "Funny How Time Slips Away" and bouncier tunes like "Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms" and Buck Owens' "Hello Trouble." The record label was from Denver, Colorado, so I imagine that Gardner was also from thereabouts...
Jay Gardner & The Wranglers "Some Favorites Of Mine" (Sierra Records) (LP)
A Utah local, Jay Gardner was the program director for country stations KSOP, in Salt Lake City, and led a band which was apparently made up of some other station members. Here, he's playing country standards such as "Cheating Heart," "Jambalaya," "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette," Johnny Horton's "Honky Tonk Man" and "All For The Love Of A Girl," with musical backing that includes a little bit of flashy, note-happy guitar playing (by Mr. Gardner?) along with pretty primitive rhythmic backing on bass and drums. The choice of an Ernest Tubb tune is pretty apt, since Gardner had a rather simple vocal style as well... There's no artwork on the back cover, and not much info on the disc, either. All the songs are country standards, though there is one tune, "Looking Glass" without any songwriter credit that might be an original... And there's no release date, either, of course, though I'm gonna say 1963 or '64, since that's when the band was mentioned in a few local newspapers, playing gigs like cattlemen conventions and whatnot. Not really a great record, but certainly authentic and raw, and charming if you're into the whole digging-amateur-musicians aesthetic.
Joey Garone "Waves Of Time" (1981) (LP)
You'd be forgiven for thinking (as I did) that this is an old indie-twang album, what with Mr. Garone pictured on the cover, clad in denim, sporting aviator glasses and several massive turquoise rings, and of course a cowboy-ish Panama hat... But in fact, this is a really weird, sorta-folk/sorta-rock album, full of bizarre, rambling lyrics and strange, possibly drugged-out preoccupations and obsessions galore. It's not a country album -- consider this fair warning -- but for folks who enjoy kooky, outsider-art bizarro records, this one's a doozy. The opening track, "Gasoline Junkies," isn't quite the earnest critique of our petrochemically propelled populace that you'd expect, but rather an opening salvo for a very odd album, with Garone musing authoritatively about UFOs, including the ones he says he's seen with his own eyes. Despite this album being pirated and sampled by numerous interwebsters, its origins remain obscure -- there's no discographical info on the album itself, or even a mention of where Garone was living when he made it. (Off the grid, perhaps? In a tinfoil-lined shack?) It's possible that the low-level notoriety of this LP inspired the character of nightclub singer Joey Garone in the 2009 feature film, "Once More With Feeling," but that's mostly just me speculating in the absence of fact. Anyone out there have real info about this guy? If so, I'd be much obliged!
Pat Garrett -- see artist profile
Gary & Eddie "...Live!" (Carousel Productions/Cartay Records, 1972-?) (LP)
(Produced by Don Weyand)
No. Way. No frickin' way. Okay, well, let me back up a little... This is a funky (as in kinda clunky) live album recorded at the fabled Taylor's Supper Club, a Denver, Colorado nightclub that also ran its own record label and released a few LPs like this one. So here's the "no way" part: the duo of Gary and Eddie, though not fully identified on the album's liner notes, were actually two kids from Fort Worth, Texas named Eddie Johnson and Gary Morris... Yes, that Gary Morris, the guy who later moved to Nashville and became one of the cheesiest and most successful of the 1980s pop-crossover country ballad singer of the synthy-tinkly piano era, and who recorded one of the earliest hit versions of "Wind Beneath My Wings." Johnson and Morris formed a duo in 1969 and played regular gigs at Taylor's for the next five years -- this album is probably circa 1972, with a brace of late '60s/early '70s hits such as "Snowbird," "Never Ending Love," "Gentle On My Mind" and the inevitable run-throughs of "Proud Mary" and "Me And Bobby McGee." The album is just two long tracks of live performances, with no grooves between the song... It's a lively show, though the guys get kind of goofy with their vocals and seem more like a Kingston Trio-ish folk act at times... They are joined on a few tunes by gal singer Teri Hernandez, who the liner notes say was a teenager at the time, and who has two solo numbers, on "Snowbird" and "Crazy Arms..." Dunno what she did later on. The Gary and Eddie duo broke up when Morris moved to Nashville, where he plugged away for several years until his 1981 breakthrough. Eddie Johnson stayed in Colorado and also played in the singing-policemen band, The Lawmen -- he later formed an act with that band's leader, Bo Cotrell and has been in a string of bands over the years. But here is where it all began.
Gary & Sandy "That Makes Two Of Us" (Top Ten Records, 1977) (LP)
(Produced by Jerry Fuller)
Though Gary Raffanelli and Sandy Selby were both decent singers, this is a majestically terrible album, 'Seventies easy listening disco-pop kitsch at its apex, a gooey, bombastic set of would-be soft-pop hits, helmed by veteran producer Jerry Fuller, who also wrote about half the songs. Despite the presence of country pickers like Glen Campbell and Billy Walker, the twang influences are mostly theoretical, overshadowed by swelling string arrangments courtesy of Larry Mahoberac and Sid Feller. This seems to be a songwriter's demo with Fuller working out some pop-related ideas -- devotees of so-bad-it's-still-bad '70s schmaltz might dig it, though for most twangfans this one's a record you can skip. Some background info: Gary and Sandy were from the SF Bay Area -- Raffanelli grew up in Richmond; Selby was from Berkeley -- and they formed their duo in 1973, moving up to Lake Tahoe for casino gigs and later to Reno, where they held down a neneteen-year residency at the Reno Hilton. Their act went through a lot of permutations, eventually forming an ABBA covers band called Abbacadabra. So... now you know.
Jimmy Gateley "Jimmy Gateley" (Westwood, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Frank Evans, Dave Lindley & Billy Troy)
Born in Springfield, Missouri, Jimmy Gateley (1931-1985) was a successful Nashville songwriter who composed hits for Bill Anderson, Sonny James and Webb Pierce. He was in Anderson's band, the Po' Boys, for several years and recorded some singles under his own name for Chart Records, ABC-Dot, Decca and other labels, but never quite clicked as a solo artist, and later became a gospel artist. This album features all original material and was recorded on the independent Westwood label, which was briefly a home for a slew of older Nashville stars who had been left behind during Nashville's big shift in the 'Seventies. He's got a pretty solid crew backing him, including studio pros such as guitarist Greg Galbraith Sonny Garrish and Jim Baker playing pedal steel, and Buddy Cannon on bass.
Gateway "Wanted: Good Time String Band" (Whacks Jawburz)
(Produced by Tom Reynolds)
Goofy independently produced folk music... Not as twangy as the stuff I'm into, though they do mix in a bit of bluegrass pickin'... They cover stuff like "Rocky Top," Jack Tempchin's "Peaceful Easy Feeling," John Stewart's "Cody," and the lovely "I'm Going Home," which was written by Fred Geis of the Kingston Trio. There's also a bunch of original material, notably the title track, "Good Time String Band," which extols the virtues of joyfully making music and the super-goofball medley of "People Poems" which is pretty much the album's showcase song. This didn't really resonate with me, but as indie-twang from Indianapolis goes, this is probably worth knowing about. (BTW, the album art is really confusing, but the band's name was Gateway - the credits read: "All songs arranged by Gateway..." and then give all their names. There's also a more modern group called the Good Time String Band up in Maine, but they're a different band.)
Gator Alley "It Takes Time" (Gator Alley) (LP)
(Produced by Gator Alley & Leon Reeder)
This Midwestern band featured three sisters -- Dawna, Debbie and Dina Nelson -- who wrote most of the songs on the album, with steel guitar by Don Kates and lead guitar by Jerry Fitzpatrick. The album was recorded at Creative Audio studios, Champaign, Illinois and looks like an early '80s outing.
Mac Gayden "Skyboat" (ABC, 1976)
Mac Gayden "Hymn To The Seeker" (MCA, 1976)
(Produced by Mac Gayden)
Session guitarist Mac Gayden played on Dylan's Nashville Skyline and led the Nashville-based jam bands Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry... Although he plays banjo and mandolin (somewhere in the mix), there's not a lot of twang on this spacey, spiritual set of disco-tinged white funk, some of it quite monotonous. Didn't do much for me, sorry to say.
Abbie Gaye, Ken And Mel "Country Music Jubilee" (Trac Records, 196--?) (LP)
(Produced by Stan Anderson)
The bluegrass-y trio of Abbie Gaye, Ken Stephens and Mel Johnson are perhaps best known for their stringband parody of the Buck Owens song, "Tiger By The Tail," which they recorded for Starday Records in 1965 as "I've Got A Polecat By The Tail." This album is less novelty-oriented, filled with earnest covers of bluegrass classics by Jim Eanes, Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe, along with a few gospel tunes and a zippy rendition of "Ruby Are You Mad." There are also several songs credited to "M. Johnson," who I think was Mel, and these seem to be originals or his adaptations of traditional material. This may have been the first LP issued by Trac Records, a label based in Fresno, California -- I could find very little info out about these folks online, so I'm not sure if they were a California-based band or not... At any rate, it's nice stuff. Resolutely old-fashioned, these plainspoken performances harken back to the heartfelt, no-frills styles of artists such as Molly O'Day or Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper.
P. T. Gazell "Pace Yourself" (Sugar Hill, 1978) (LP)
Another odd one: Johnny Paycheck's harmonica player Phil Gazell fronts a studio band that includes Jerry Douglas playing dobro and Ricky Skaggs on mandolin, in a mostly-bluegrass set, with some dips into sentimental Antbellum-style material, a few Irish jigs, and a little bluesy swing. Originally from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, Gazell moved to Lexington, Kentucky in the late '70s, where he cut this album with the cream of the crop of new-generation newgrass musicians. He mostly blows the harp but also sings on a tune or two: the CD/MP3 reissue includes some twangier bonus tracks with an Asleep At The Wheel feel to them. Not bad! And is sure is interesting to hear the harmonica in a bluegrass context...
Arthur Gee "Arthur Gee" (Tumbleweed, 1970) (LP)
This review is more of a warning sign, I guess. Apparently from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada's Arthur Gee is another one of those weird, eclectic 'Seventies obscuro artists who get lumped in with "country rock" music just because there's some banjo or pedal steel somewhere in their mix. But really, this is a far-flung, spaced-out experimental rock album with proggy and psychedelic folk leanings... If you're into the harder core of '70s experimentalism, this record could be cool... He dips into mellower, Emmitt Rhodes-y territory, but a lot of this is pretty challenging, in more of a Kingdom Come pop-blender style. But if you're looking for a missing Chris Hillman folk-rock album, this ain't it.
Arthur Gee/Arthur Gee-Whizz Band "City Cowboy" (Tumbleweed, 1971) (LP)
This album is slightly more twangy and a lot more accomplished than Gee's self-titled debut, also edgier with passages that evoke some of the choppier prog and freak-folk of the era. It's mostly spacy and playful, but there are a few abrupt curves into harder "boogie rock" material that have an unexpected severity that suggests pre-punk and avant-rockers such as Alice Cooper or demos-era Devo. A little bit of twang and a few semi-pastoral passages, but this ain't the country-rock gem you might expect from the album title. If you're a twangfan, consider yourself forewarned. This is probably best celebrated as weirdo-obscuro experimentalism, but there are some more accessible tracks as well, such as the rocker "Green Countryside," although a bunch of the spacier stuff seems ripe for modern-day tributes, ala Vashti Bunyan.
The Geezinslaw Brothers -- see artist profile
The Gems & Nashville Sound 70s "Dream Baby And Other Country Hits" (RCA Camden, 1971) (LP)
(Produced by Bob Ferguson, Ethel Gabriel, Chuck Seitz & Roy Shockley)
This is one of those quickie-cheapie anonymous-band truckstop albums that flooded the bins in the 1960s and '70s, although in this case, the band wasn't as completely anonymous as those playing on the smaller, non-major label records. The Gems were the full-time backing band of Nashville star Jim Ed Brown, anchored in the early 'Seventies by steel player Hank Corwin and lead guitar picker Earl Erb. The band's name was a take on Brown's own name -- Jim's Gems, get it? -- a play on words that also provided the title of one of his late '60s albums. Anyway, the Gems were for real, although I think there were a few RCA studio ringers on this disc as well, guys like Bunky Keels and Jerry Shook. Anyway, it's a legit "solo" album by a working Nashville band. Likewise, the Nashville Sound 70s vocal group -- Dianne Hines, Dottie DeLeonibus, Richard Law and Ronnie Drake -- were also part of Brown's entourage, originally singing on his TV show, starting in 1970. The songs include covers of a few big "sunshine country" hits, along with a bunch of other obscuro tunes that were probably written by some of the musicians themselves.
The Gems "The Gems" (1980-?) (LP)
(Produced by Dan Gant)
I guess around 1975, '76, there was a big shakeup in Jim Ed Brown's band, though steel player Hank Corwin stuck around and led the band for a few more years... This album features Corwin anchoring a new crew including Bruce Osborn (lead guitar), Ed Chambliss (drums), Jerry Braswell (bass), Tim Atwood (piano) and Tom Rutlege (banjo, rhythm guitar) and I'm guessing this was an early '80s lineup, just since they look so much like Alabama or the Oak Ridge Boys. Porter Wagoner wrote the liner notes for this album and is pictured on the back with the band, sitting in front of a giant mixing board, so possibly he produced the album as well. Eventually he poached some of these guys for his own band, notably Hank Corwin, who then played with Wagoner for several years. This disc has a lot of cover tunes, and possibly a couple of originals, although it's hard to tell, since there are no composer credits...
Gene & Debbe "Hear And Now" (TRX Records, 1968) (LP)
(Produced by Dan Gant)
The Nashville duo of Gene Thomas and Debbe Neville had their biggest success as '60s pop artists, although they dabbled with country and there's definitely an element of twang in the mix as well. They seem to have been pals of songwriter Mickey Newberry -- in addition to several songs written by Thomas, they recorded a couple of Newberry's early tunes, as well as one by John D. Loudermilk and a few others. Thomas had some commercial successes as a songwriter, and remains a cult fave for some retro-pop fans. There's also a generously programmed reissue CD on the Sundazed label that gives a pretty full picture of their career.
Gentle Ben "Gentle Ben" (Loggerhythm Records, 1980-?) (LP)
(Produced by Jim Flannigan & John Austin)
This country-rock band from Boise, Idaho split its album between (mostly) cover songs on Side One and original material on Side Two... Keyboard player Bill Truitt wrote most of the material, with drummer Dennis Carrasco penning a couple of tunes. In addition, they delve into stuff by Dylan ("Billy The Kid"), Mickey Gilley ("Don't The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time") and Willie Nelson ("Bloody Mary Morning," "Me And Paul") with guitarist Mark Lucas adding some rock-flavored licks througout. There was another band called Gentle Ben active around the same time, but they were from Cincinnati, Ohio and had no connections to these guys.
Gentle Ben - Featuring Sonja "Barroom Stories" (Jewel Recordings, 1981-?) (LP)
(Produced by Junior Bennett)
Strangely enough, I believe this Gentle Ben was an entirely different group than the Idaho band listed above. These folks were from Cincinnati, Ohio, led by the main songwriter Ben Nielsen, his wife Sonja and fiddler Junior Bennett, who produced the album. Their sound is fleshed out with help from steel player Dale Wagner, and the Jewel label's Rusty York, who sits in on banjo and dobro. Overall, this one didn't wow me... The band is pretty clunky and clompy, aiming for an outlaw country/boogie rock sound... real-deal bar-band stuff, but not the best I've heard. The cover songs include a belabored version of Tompall Glaser's infamous "Put Another Log On The Fire," recast as a "Tramp"-style bickering couple song, with the Nielsen's dishing out jabs at one another in what I guess was a chance to, ahem, liberate the song from its agitprop male chauvinist origins. Worth a spin, but not as much fun as I'd hoped.
Lowell George "Thanks, I'll Eat It Here" (Warner, 1979)
(Produced by Lowell George)
One of the great lost albums of the 1970s! The late, great Lowell George was lead singer of the roots-rock/funk-jazz superband, Little Feat... On this solo outing, he let go of Little Feat's rougher edges, in favor of a mellower, more conventionally "pop" sound. The album covers blues, country and soulful rock -- plus, it's jam-packed with fun, enjoyable songs. My favorites include the mariachi-flavored "Cheek To Cheek," his versions of Rickie Lee Jones' "Easy Money," and the old Ann Peebles soul ballad, "I Can't Stand The Rain," as well as a great remake of the Little Feat classic, "Two Trains..." Heck, the whole album is great. Also includes a couple of mournful acoustic numbers that are some of the most melancholy tunes I know: "20 Million Things To Do" and "Find A River." I'm happy to report that this record is back in print at last... You should really snap this one up!
Buzz Gertson "God Loves Country Music" (Ripcord Records, 1978-?) (LP)
Lewiston, Idaho's Buzz Goertzen helpfully misspells his own name as "Gertson" on the album cover to help the more phonetically-minded among us, but spells it properly on the song credits. According to the liner notes, he worked for several years as a police officer in Boise, then moved into drug counseling and finally became a full-time preacher -- but not just any preacher, mind you, he was a singing, yodeling country music preacher! This album features some country-gospel oldies, along with more contemporary numbers, including several that Goertzen co-wrote or adapted. The album includes novelty gems such as "Jesus Put A Yodel In My Heart" and "This Motor Home Is In God's Hands," as well as "I Don't Sing Those Songs Anymore." Like many Ripcord releases, this doesn't give the year or any info on the musicians, but it seems to have come out around 1978. I think he also re-released this on his own a few years later. Goertzen went on to self-release over a dozen albums, generally a mix of old-school secular yodeling/western songs and gospel material. He also maintains a website called The Idaho Yodeler which gives a lot of information about his career.
Buzz Gertson "The Idaho Yodeler" (Ripcord Records, 197--?) (LP)
(Produced by Gene Breeden & Ellis Miller)
Davey Gibbs "...And His Country Hoppers" (RCA-Camden, 1962) (LP)
Nicknamed "The Country Kid," Davey Gibbs was a bluegrass-influenced bandleader from Kingston, Ontario who formed his band in the late 1940s, and kept on truckin' right through the days when he cut these albums. This one has a slightly fusty song selection, but was pretty country and robust -- the band featured a pedal steel player, standup bass, fiddle, guitars... Not sure how extensively his discography was, but this is pretty solid material!
Davey Gibbs "Mister Hoedown" (RCA-Camden, 1963) (LP)
Richard Gibbs "No Use To Grieve" (Malinda Records) (LP)
Ultra-forlorn, booze-soaked 1960's honkytonk from an unknown Louisiana singer, on an album I've only heard of courtesy of the Waxidermy website... This is kinda like the album that No Show Jones would have made if old George had gone down an indie path or been even more forthcoming about his drinking problem(s). The title track is a glorious mega-bummer about a divorced and down-on-his-luck dad, while other songs deal more explicitly with the themes of alcohol abuse, including the crushingly harsh "Drinkin' Spree," in which the narrator gets his ass royally kicked in a bar fight, which is illustrated in grim, explicit detail, but with a jaunty little lilt, with just the sort of bemused detachment you'd expect from someone who was drunk enough to stay conscious during the ordeal. This is a really good record: any chance the uber-collectors who have it (or Mr. Gibbs himself) could reissue it sometime? Love to hear the rest!
George Gillespie "Cow Camp Songs Of The Old West" (Thorne Records) (LP)
Hardcore, old-fashioned cowboy and western songs sung by a dude wrangler and ranch hand from Scottsdale, Arizona. Pretty much the real deal.
Johnny Gimble - see artist discography
Jimmie Dale Gilmore - see artist discography
Calvin Gilmore/Various Artists "Calvin Gilmore Presents: The Carolina Opry, v.1" (Candock Records, 1987) (LP)
(Produced by Calvin Gilmore & Jim Rhodes)
A souvenir album of one of the many mom'n'pop "opry"-style variety shows that dotted the lanscape over the years... This one was out of Surfside Beach, South Carolina and featured bandleader Calvin Gilmore along with a group that includes Steve Templeton, Janet Smith and others. This one seems to be more of a "band" record, rather than a compilation - many of the same artists play on various tracks. I also think Gilmore may have gone on to become a gospel artist...
Calvin Gilmore/Various Artists "Calvin Gilmore Presents: The Carolina Opry, v.2" (Candock Records, 1988) (LP)
Joanie Gilmore & The Cascades "Joanie Gilmore And The Cascades " (Gil-Key Records) (LP)
(Produced by R. M. Caskey)
An ultra-DIY set from 1960's Topeka, Kansas, with cool, Wanda Jackson-ish vocals by Ms. Gilmore. By the way... Anyone out there have a copy they could lend me?
Gladstone "...From Down Home In Tyler, Texas, USA" (ABC, 1972) (LP)
A soft-sounding Southern rock set, with a healthy undercurrent of twang. This band was a rainmaker project for producers Robin Hood Brians and Randy Fouts, whose Brians Studio was a focal point for local artists in and around Tyler, Texas. Apparently this record was released twice, the first time with the Tyler Texas title, and then again, with different album art as just plain old "Gladstone." They had an almost-Top 40 single with "A Piece Of Paper," but the mojo wasn't quite there for mainstream success... Apparently Mike Rabon, formerly of the pop band The Five Americans, was hooked up with this band, after his earlier country-rock efforts with the band Choctaw, though after this he bailed on the music business and went back to school.
Gladstone "Lookin' For A Smile" (ABC, 1973) (LP)
(Produced by Robin Hood Brians & Randy Fouts)
Nice mellow stuff, particularly the skillful pedal steel by Bobby Tuttle... Admittedly, this is a pretty uneven album, pulled in several directions stylistically, ranging from some pretty nice cosmic-cowboy stuff and mostly-mellow Southern rock, to more "epic" guitar rock (as on the album's closer, a lazy, hazy stoner anthem called "Here Comes That Feeling'," which also features some nice harmonica by Mickey Raphael...) There are a couple of Michael Rabon songs on here, including a remake of "Texas Sparrow," which was originally part of his Choctaw album. I don't think he was on this record, though, unless he was playing under some alias... There's only one really big, hard-edged Southern rock song on here, "Dixie Woman," which I didn't like, but I imagine is a cult favorite for the genre. Mostly, this is a pretty mellow album, and I enjoy the softer steel-drenched stuff. Worth a spin. (BTW: anyone know if the Tom Russell who sang backup on here is the same guy as the Texas singer-songwriter folkie, who was in Texas around this time? Just curious.)
Tompall Glaser - see artist discography
Glasgow - Lord - Woods "Rock'n' Chair" (1979) (LP)
(Produced by Danny Glasgow, Bill Woods & Mike Lord)
The folk-country trio of Danny Glasgow, Mike Lord and Bill Woods were apparently from California -- some folks say Northern California, but I'm guessing they're really from around LA, since one song on this album is called "Salt Creek," which is a popular beach in Orange County. Not a lot of info on these guys, though.
Dawn Glass "Sunshine And Lollypops" (R. C. Records, 1976) (LP)
A perennial second-stringer, Louisiana's Dawn Glass was a regional performer, doing concerts and TV shows in the Shreveport area while trying to make it on the national level. She recorded a few singles on a variety of labels, including ABC-Paramount, and Chart Records, and was signed by Columbia Nashville in the 1967, but as far as I know this was her only album. It was released on the Waco, Texas RC label, though perhaps the most interesting thing about this album is that all but two of the songs were written by Ann J. Morton, who was herself at the time an aspiring country musician. (I wrote to Ms. Morton to ask about the connection, and she said she had pitched some songs, including "Sunshine And Lollypops," to Glass and she wound up recording several others... One of these, "Kentucky Boy," was previously recorded as a single on Chart Records in 1973.) Even better, this is a nice record. Ms. Glass was an appealing vocalist, with a bright rural twang that strongly resmebled that of Loretta Lynn, and while a couple of tracks on here sound less well-rehearsed than they could have been, mostly this is pretty solid musically speaking. A strong song selection as well, with a lot of stuff that should be of interest to any of Ann Morton's fans -- there's also a swell version of Ray Griff's "Pour A Little Water On The Flowers" that kicks off Side Two. All in all, definitely worth a spin!
Glass Hammer "On Our Own" (Crescent Hill, 1979)
Although they went on to become famous as a prog-rock powerhouse, Nashville's Glass Hammer first album spotlighted them as a '70s sunshine-y soft-rock band with a penchant for pop-twang similar to the stuff Mac Davis had been recording years earlier... There's a plain country vibe here, but it comes amid perky pop and disco, it feels pretty tongue-in-cheek... The "rebel shout" lyrics in the opening track sound satirical, and likewise, covers of Steve Goodman's "You Never Even Call Me By My Name" and Kenny Rogers' "We've Got Tonight" seem to underscore a Southern rocker's sense of irony or distain towards mainstream country, while their real creative mojo was somewhere else. I've seen this cited as a country-rock gem, but I'm not quite buying it...
Glendale Train "Glendale Train" (Point Five Art & Design, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Glendale Train)
Presumably this Wisconsin-based band took its name from the song by the New Riders Of The Purple Sage... They had an unusual, far-flung mix of country, rock and bluegrass, ranging from hippie twang of "This Ole Cowboy" to the new wave-ish power-pop of "What Will It Take." They had two lead singers, and while the dude, J. D. Cunningham, was fine for the genre, I have to confess that singer Theresa Sanders kind of got on my nerves -- the timbre of her voice, along with the folkie, Joan Baez-ian phrasing doesn't fit in with what the rest of the band sounds like. At best, I found it distracting... Regardless, this is an interesting, ambitious set of all-original indie-twang, and certainly worth a spin if you're digging deep into the crates.
Glenda & Timm "On Stage" (Shiloh Productions, 1981) (LP)
This duo from Colorado Springs, Colorado wore their musical hearts on their sleeves... but they sure did have good taste in stuff to play. There are a bunch of cover songs, with a heavy, heavy debt to the Emmylou Harris repertoire, including songs such as "Feelin' Single, Seein' Double," "Too Far Gone," "Leavin' Louisiana In The Broad Daylight," "Two More Bottles Of Wine" and "One Of These Days..." (*whew!*) There are also some some classic Patsy Cline material and a few interesting late '70s countrypolitican/country-pop songs, such as "Somebody's Knockin'," "Wildfire" and "Waiting For The Time To Get Better."
Howdy Glenn "I Can Almost See Houston" (Indian Head Records, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Euel Mills, Rue Barclay & Howdy Glenn)
Although he nicknamed himself as "Mr. Houston" -- presumably after the title track of this album -- singer Howdy Glenn was from Southern California and made his name singing in clubs and contests around Los Angeles and San Bernadino. This album is packed with original material, mostly songs credited to Ray Willis and Tom Willis, with tasty titles such as "Lucy, Ain't Your Loser Looking Good," "I'm Here To Drink It All," "Has Been Honky Tonk Queen," and "Who Makes A Wino's Bed." There's along with a cover of cover Tom T. Hall's "Old Dogs, Children & Watermelon Wine," which was a staple of his live show...
Rick Glenn "...And The Texas Aliens" (RGA Records, 1985) (LP)
(Produced by Larry Staffen, Miles Granfield, Rick Glenn & Mike Solie)
It's possible that there were some genuine Texans in this band, but if so, they made their home in sunny San Bernardino, California, where they played regularly in the early '80s at venues such as the now-defunct Mule Lip Saloon. The album is mostly cover songs, well chosen stuff from folks like Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver and Gary P. Nunn, with some swing material ala Asleep At The Wheel in the mix as well. There are also three original songs, two by bandleader Rick Glenn -- the Willie Nelson-styled "A Rose That Lasts A LIfetime" and "Long Distance Lady" -- as well as one written by bassist Debbie Duschel, a SoCal native whose parents, Jean Davidson and Johnny Duschel, played in a number of high-profile West Coast bands in the '50s, including the Bob Wills band, and on Cliffie Stone's TV show. She sings lead on several songs, including a version of the Judds' "Girls Night Out," and a very Wheel-ish version of "Bump Bounce Boogie." It's hard to gauge the strength of the musicians from this recording -- it's okay, but a little flatly produced, and they may have had more oomph as a live band. Nonetheless, this is another nice document of a hard-working local band from years gone by, and the the original material is all pretty good.
J. D. Gold "I Must Follow My Heart" (Sun Song Records, 1986) (LP)
(Produced by John D'Andrea & Carmine Rubino)
Jovial, uptempo indie country from Southern California singer J. D. Gold. Most of the songs are credited to I. Rettig, which I thought must have been Gold's real name, but apparently it was actually Iona B. Rettig... At any rate, the songs are pretty good, even with the gallumphing, wannabee-commercial arrangements, synth-ish '80s stuff that places Gold in the same range, stylistically, as Moe Bandy or folks like that. There are rueful drinking songs ("Life Of The Party," one of two songs not written by Rettig) and a couple that explore ambivalent feelings about California's fabled Golden State mythos... I don't recognize most of the players on here, other than steel player J. D. Maness, but the musicianship is all pretty solid. There are a few rough edges, to be sure, but overall this is a nice indie effort.
Jim Gold "Hometown Hero" (CBS-Tabu Records, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Mike Theodore & Dennis Coffey)
Songwriter Jim Gold struck it big in the early '70s with his sunshine-y pop band Gallery (known for the hit "I Believe In Music") but struggled to recreate that magic in later years. He dabbles in country-rock twang on this album -- I was drawn to pedal steel and mandolin listed in the credits -- but ultimately it winds up being more of a stylistic affectation rather than a commitment to the style. So, I guess I'm listing this one more as a warning to twangfans -- now you don't have to spend that dollar in the cheapie bin -- although fans of 'Seventies pop and AOR will probably find a lot to enjoy on this diverse disc. One interesting note was how much some of the guitar tones on a few tunes resembled early Dire Straits... guess it was just the technology of the times, or something.
Roxanne Goldade "20 More Miles To Go" (Track Records, 1977) (LP)
(Produced by Peter Bentley)
A teenaged pop-country hopeful from Alberta, Canada, starting at age seven, Roxanne Goldade was a child performer on a TV show based in Calgary, and cut this album when she was fourteen years old. The record has "big" sounding production, matched by Roxanne's forceful, emotive vocals, and although she undeniably sounds very young, there's still a confident, Anne Murray-esque feel to her singing, a brash, cheerful wholesomeness. Most of the songs are originals, credited to either Roxanne Goldade or Agnes Goldade -- the song "Mama Take My Hand" was also released as a single... Some of the tracks were recorded in 1975, others in '77, and on the earlier songs she sounds much, much younger. I wonder if she made more recordings... Anybody out there know more about this gal?
Kaye Golden "The Golden Touch" (Music Industries Incorporated/MIC Records, 1972) (LP)
(Produced by Bud Billings)
A Nashville hopeful who apparently had a gig at Roger Miller's motel-based King Of The Road nightclub around the time this record was made, back in December, 1971. It's not a songwriter's demo set, though: all the songs are covers, including Kris Kristofferson's "For The Good Times" and "Help Me Make It Through The Night," Ray Stevens' "Everything Is Beautiful," "Country Roads" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by the Band.
The Golden Voyage "The Golden Hits Of Country Music" (1981-?) (LP)
This early '80s cover band plays versions of a couple of dozen hits, mainly stuff from the '60 and '70 such "Crazy" and "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," as well as oldies by the Carter Family and Hank Williams. The most contemporary tracks seems to be a cover of Dallas Frazier's "Elvira," which was a hit for The Oak Ridge Boys in '81. This nondescript set was recorded at Bradley's Barn in Nashville, and though I assumed the band was made up entirely of nobodies, it turns out it was led by pianist Little David Wilkins, a songwriter and Music City session player who made some mid-'Seventies albums that were actually pretty good
Joe Goldmark -- see artist discography
Gold Rush "Strikin' It Rich" (Bare Records, 1982) (LP)
(Produced by Gold Rush & Pete Dockendorf)
A lively, inventive set of progressive bluegrass, with clear country touches... This energetic, ambitious band from Elizabeth, Colorado had plenty of talent, notably fiddler Suzanne Roberts, dobro guitarist Al Goll and mandolin picker Charles Provenza, who floats off on Grisman-inspired solos on a tune or two, including the track, "Alturas," which is credited to him but sounds an awful lot like one of those old DGQ songs. There's a wealth of original material on here, including seven songs written by bassist Larry Fries, who often cedes the spotlight to guitarist/lead vocalist Jerry Magnetti. Some of these tunes are a little overwritten, tapping into the poetical streak in '70s progressive 'grass, but that's cool: this record is well-crafted and well-produced, and holds up well against other albums in the style, evoking in particular the spirit of fellow Coloradans Hot Rize. There's also a nice cover of the Dickey Betts song, "Blue Sky," reworked with a nice acoustic feel. Most of these guys went on into a variety of other bands and projects... The liner notes say that this was their second album, although I haven't been able to track down the first one yet...
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" (Mercury, 1970) (LP)
(Produced by Huey P. Meaux & Inez Fox)
This bluesy Southeast Texas trio included Bubba Goode, Joe Pipps and Kenny Yetman, who came from around Beaumont and Port Arthur... The band's main songwriter, Joe Pipps, continued to work with producer Huey P. Meaux and later recorded an album with him on the Crazy Cajun label.
Larry Good "Movin' Country" (Lari-Jon Records) (LP)
This indie album includes a bunch of original songs, including two by Larry Good, two more by Charlie Craig and a couple by old-timer Redd Stewart...
Larry Good "Trying To Reach The Ground" (Third Rail Records) (LP)
Steve Goodman - see artist discography
Joy Goodnow "The Joy Of Country" (Major Record Company) (LP)
Joy Goodnow "Joy Goodnow" (TNT Records, 1976) (LP)
(Produced by Tom Dishaw)
The Good Old Boys "Pistol Packin' Mama" (United Artists/Round Records, 1976)
(Produced by Jerry Garcia)
Longhaired hippie bluegrass at its finest... The presence of the Dreadful Grate's Jerry Garcia as the album's producer ensured a wide listenership among certain segments of the rock scene, and (at least up here in Northern California) fairly wide distribution of this 'Seventies classic... Good thing, too: this record's pretty damn satisfying. Pure, twangy, all-acoustic truegrass that stretches into country material such as Joe Maphis' "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke," Johnnie And Jack's "Ashes Of Love" and Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama," alongside bluegrass standards such as "Toy Heart" and new stuff like "Glendale Train." The picking is solid from start to finish -- mandolinist Frank Wakefield was well-liked by many on the bluegrass scene, but recorded only sparingly -- his duet with banjoist Don Reno, on "Banjo Signal," is a real scorcher, and the rest of the album, with some sweet licks on the fiddle from Chubby Wise, sizzles as well. Recommended!
Jim Goodrich "Country Magic" (Gold Star Records, 1983) (LP)
(Produced by Nick St. Nicholas)
Recorded in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this was a set of all-original material from Jim Goodrich, who was originally from Waterloo, Iowa...
Goose Creek Symphony "Est. 1970" (Capitol, 1970)
This longhaired Arizona ensemble started off with a wild mix of goofy country clompers, disjointed hillbilly psychedelia, old country gospel numbers, and plenty of good, old-fashioned '70s style boogie rock. Their debut album is pretty cool -- veering off in various directions, with gems in all the categories mentioned above, and many songs that creep through the stylistic margins. A weird, but relatively cohesive record that is pleasantly emblematic of its times. Experimental, eclectic and filled with chaotic good humor and energy -- definitely worth checking out!
Goose Creek Symphony "Welcome To Goose Creek" (Capitol, 1971)
Unfortunately on their second album, the band chose to pass their country side off as a Hee-Haw-ish hick-hoedown joke, hamming it up on all the overtly hillbilly tunes, while concentrating their "serious" efforts on the more acid-laced rock numbers and feedbacky guitars. Still an interesting, eclectic album, but it's sad that the country stuff simply doesn't hold up. After a while they settle into a smooth groove that sounds an awful lot like Garth and Rick and Levon and all the boys from The Band.
Goose Creek Symphony "Words Of Earnest" (Capitol, 1972)
Perhaps their best album, this shows a much-welcome slide back into a more heartfelt country mode, an increased affinity to rootsy sound of The Band, more coherent attempts at serious psychedelicized songwriting, and some goofy stuff to balance it out, including a cover of Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" and several druggy celebrations which make explicit mention of all the tokes, hits and trips it took to get this album together. Interesting cultural artifact and a pretty good record, to boot! Recommended.
Goose Creek Symphony "The Goose Is Loose" (Bo Records, 2007)
A new album from this still-active hippie-era experimental country/rock jam band from Arizona -- in this case, it's a 2-CD set taken from a 1994 reunion concert. Haven't heard it yet, but I'm quite curious. (There's more info at the band's website: www.goosecreeksymphony.com )
Theron Gooslin "Would You Believe" (Viper Records) (LP)
(Produced by Darrell Glenn & Thomas Wayne)
A Kentucky native, singer Theron Gooslin had a regular gig playing at the Continental Inn in Lexington, Kentucky during the 1970s. On this album he hammers hard on regionally-themed tunes like "Coal Tattoo" and "Kentucky," along with a bunch of country covers -- "Cattle Call," "Green Green Grass Of Home, "Six Days On The Road," "Is Anybody Going To San Antone" and "Ring Of Fire." No info on when this one came out, though it looks early '70s -- maybe '72 or '73?
Dave Gordon "Natural Causes" (Vetco, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Lou Ukelson)
Connecticut-based folksinger Dave Gordon and his then-wife, Kay Gordon, recorded several albums in the late '70s and early '80s, perhaps the best-known of which is this uptempo, country-flavored set recorded for the bluegrass indie, Vetco Records. It includes two great, Dr. Demento-ready, Larry Groce-esque novelty songs, a tall tale about spending gone wrong entitled "The Mad Consumer" and the giddy, malaprop-laden "You Getting Bothered Doesn't Marry Me," one of the most cheerful scary-stalker songs ever recorded, and an old favorite of the KFAT crew. Their other album were a little too mainstream folkie for me, but I crack up every time I hear "You Getting Bothered" -- it's a pretty durable novelty song.
The Gore Brothers "...And Cool Water" (Gore Brother Records, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Don Caldwell)
Lubbock, Texas siblings Gary and Ron Gore were veteran players on the Lone Star folk and bluegrass scene who formed their own band, Cool Water, in the 1970s. Their repertoire is what could be described as "progressive" bluegrass, though with distinct traces of outlaw country and old-school coffeehouse folk. This is a nice record, with strong performances by Ron Gore on mandolin and banjo plunking by Bruce McBee; the electric bass playing by Gary Gore feels like a poor fit, even lackluster at times, though I'm not sure if it's one of those "new to the studio" DIY things, or maybe he just wasn't that comfortable playing electric. Overall, this is a strong record for the '70s indiebilly scene, and definitely worth checking out. Includes covers of Dylan's "Knocking On Heaven's Door" and the newly-minted "Song For The Life," by Rodney Crowell, as well as a couple of Gary Gore originals, "Our Love Can't Be," and the hippie-ish "Hope In The Country," which sings the praises of the rural life.
The Gosdin Brothers "The Sounds Of Goodbye" (Bakersfield International/Capitol, 1967)
Long lost amid the cavernous Capitol vaults, the 1968 debut of the Gosdin Brothers -- future country superstar Vern Gosdin and his brother Rex -- was recorded after their shift from straight-up bluegrass into the world of folk-rock. This is a genuine lost gem from the early California country-rock scene. While many mainstream country artists who tried to approach rock music and the youth culture during the hippie years often sounded hopelessly like fish out of water, the Gosdins were perfectly at ease. Although they were country boys tried and true, the Gosdin's psychedelic bona fides were pretty impeccable: they played in bluegrass bands with Chris Hillman, then hooked up with Hillman's Byrd buddy Gene Clark on his early solo career during the Summer Of Love. When they got their own shot at a solo career, they came out with an album that was surprisingly adventurous and electrified, with superpicker Clarence White laying down some delightfully noodly billy-delic folk-rock riffs. Re-released on CD with extra material... see below.
The Gosdin Brothers "Sounds Of Goodbye" (Big Beat, 2003)
This CD reissue jumbles up the track order of the original LP, but adds a bunch of extra material that kinda makes up for it. Even though I've been a big Vern Gosdin fan for years (his later solo work is fantastic), I was really surprised by how much I got into this record... It's goofy, heartfelt and fun. Not merely a nostalgic curio, but actually a fine set of music. Check it out!
Bobby Gosh "Bobby Gosh" (Polydor, 1971) (LP)
Bobby Gosh "Mother Motor" (Polydor, 1972) (LP)
(Produced by Bobby Gosh)
Well, this one sure looks like it would be a hidden country-rock gem, but it's really more on the pop side of things, in an early '70s experimental/clompy roots-rock kind of way. Songwriter Bobby Gosh came to rock music from a old-school Pop background: as a teen, he backed singer Kitty Kallen and later worked with Paul Anka writing and demo-ing songs in his Brill Building/Tin Pan Alley years. As a solo artist, Gosh seemed like a pretty unlikely hitmaker, with his rough, limited vocals, but here he found a stylistic niche in the roots-boogie rock sound -- the opening tracks sound like Dr. Hook songs, and indeed, Gosh had one of his biggest hits the following year, when that band recorded his song, "A Little Bit More" into the Top Ten. There is some overt country-rock on here, particularly the twangy "Butterfly Mind," which showcases session picker Eric Weissberg on pedal steel, playing in that kind of chunky hippie-country steel style popularized by Jerry Garcia. Eventually Gosh settles into a sort of soul-roots sound, reminiscent of Leon Russell, though much rougher vocally and musically. There's not a lot of twang on here, but if you're into the '70s roots-pop thing, this one's definitely worth a spin.
Bobby Gosh "Sitting In The Quiet" (Paramount, 1973) (LP)
(Produced by Lynn Barkley)
This album features Gosh's own versions of two of his biggest hits, "A Little Bit More" and the theme to the movie, "Bang The Drum Slowly." Dunno how country-sounding any of this is, but it might be worth a spin.
Bill Goss "...Sings Jim Reeves" (Ripcord) (LP)
Although this album was a tribute record, Bill Goss also released at least one single on Ripcord which included an original song, "My Divorce Day," with a cover of "Adios Amigos" as the flipside.
Gottcha "Gottcha" (1983) (LP)
(Produced by Maurice Bittick)
This band, also known as Jim Ponder & Gottcha, was from Conroe, Texas, a northern suburb of Houston. Their music had a country base, but they added some questionable pop/lounge touches, with saxophones and keyboards, but no pedal steel and a little fiddle on just one song. In this case, the collision of styles could get a little torturous, but to their credit, the group did have a sound that was truly their own. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but they were distinctive.
Jerry Graham "From Nashville To You" (1980)
(Produced by Eddy Fox)
Assuming it's the same guy, I think Jerry Graham was the longtime host of the United States Air Force's Country Music Time transcription disc service, where he interviewed and presented numerous country artists. Here, Mr. Graham's in the spotlight himself, recording at the Marty Robbins Studios in Nashville, with backup musicins that included Dolly Fox and Melba Montgomery(!) doing backup vocals, Dave Kirby on electric guitar, and Larry Sasser playing steel... Quite a lineup, especially for a diehard Melba Montgomery fan like yours truly!
Cuzzin Tom Graham "I Can Scratch Where You Can't When It Itches" (Cuzzin, 1983) (LP)
Songwriter Tom Graham carved a niche for himself in the early-1980's Austin scene performing kooky novelty songs delivered in a musically awkward style that I assume is half-intentional, playing up his own limitations as a vocalist, as a form of corn-pone humor. Like a lot of comedy, it may not appeal to everyone. The themes and the music can sound strained, but he does have some good gags. With songs like "Never Ask a Computer about Love," "I'm In Love With My Mother-In-Law," and "Put Back On Your Makeup Baby," this album has plenty to recommend it to fans of wacky comedy and hick-humor. He's backed on this album by a small band of Austin locals...
Cuzzin Tom Graham "Two Step Waltz" (Cuz, 1985) (LP)
More corn-pone humor, including tracks such as "When You Love An Ugly Person Everything Is Beautiful," "The They Done Took Away My Government Check Blues" and "The Two-Step Waltz."
The Grand Ole Opry Staff Band & The Carol Lee Singers "The Grand Ole Opry" (Woodsmoke Records, 1980) (LP)
I guess this was some sort of house band for one of the Opry's regular venues during the early '80s... The group included Nashville studio pros such as Sonny Burnette, Jimmy Capps, Weldon Myrick and Leon Rhodes, with vocals by a group called the Carol Lee Singers. Hey man, a paycheck is a paycheck!
The Grand Ole Opry Staff Band & The Carol Lee Singers "Showtime" (Woodsmoke Records, 1983) (LP)
Plenty of cover tunes, including some fun singalong songs such as "Take Me Back To Tulsa" and "I'm My Own Grandpa." And if you've ever wanted to hear superpickin' steel player Weldon Myrick step in front of the mic and sing, check him out on their version of "Even Tho." Lots of instrumentals, as well!
The Grand Poo-Bah Beaner Band "It Must Be A Breakdown" (Rising Star Records, 1976) (LP)
(Produced by Chuck Chapman)
Basically a decent "progressive" bluegrass band from the Kansas City area, with Byrds-y harmonies and a repertoire that spanned from traditional material to more rock-pop oriented stuff such as covers of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released," "Friend Of The Devil" by the Dead, and Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain." The vocals aren't great, but the picking was fine, particularly Jan Carlson's banjo, and some sweet mandolin riffs on their version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," which is an album highlight. On their version of "Cold Sailor," they give Kansas a little shout-out, which is cute. No original material on here, as far as I can tell, but some nice picking.
Tom Grant & The Nashville Sounds "The Nashville Country Club Proudly Presents..." (Nashville Country Club) (LP)
Not to be confused with the smooth jazz pianist, singer Tom Grant was a Wisconsin native who led a house band in Milwaukee at a club called Nick's Nicabob, and later found a slot in an obscure Indiana-based venue called the Nashville Country Club. He eventually made it to Nashville, signing to Republic Records in 1979, where he landed two singles in the Billboard charts, though he may be better known as a member of the band Trinity Lane. Although his solo career didn't really take off, Grant stuck around and worked on several Nashville-based TV shows, including TNN's 'Eighties-era "Nashville Now" and "The Ralph Emery Show," on NBC. This album was recorded during his Indiana days, with a band called Nashville Sounds, which included Darrel Young on bass, Larry Young playing lead guitar, Billy Powell on steel, and Dale Greene thumping the drums. Apparently future star Steve Wariner also apprenticed in the band at some point, though I don't think he plays on this album.
Mickey Grasso "Rip It Up" (CMS, 1977-?) (LP)
(Produced by Bebe Allen)
Independent Minnesota twang, with about half the songs written by singer Mickey Grasso or by his pals, along with covers of songs like Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," John Hartford's "Gentle On My Mind" and Freddie Hart's "Easy Lovin'," and of course the rockabilly classic, "Rip It Up." The most promising song title would be Grasso's own "Good Manly Cry."
Grateful Dead "Workingman's Dead" (Warner, 1970)
(Produced by Bob Matthews, Betty Cantor & Grateful Dead)
Well sure, maybe this isn't a proper "country" album, but what with Jerry Garcia's later involvement in Old & In The Way, and the overall backwoods vibe of this album, it's certainly a major link from the hippie rock scene into the world of country and folk. Plus, it's one of the Dead's best (and most accessible) albums, recorded when they were at their poppy peak. A classic album, with a big old Appalachian streak running right through it. Totally worth checking out.
Grateful Dead "American Beauty" (Warner, 1970)
(Produced by Grateful Dead & Steve Barncard)
Their best, or certainly their most accessible early album, with many of the band's best-known songs. The track song titles alone are emblems of the undulating heart of hippie culture: "Box Of Rain," "Ripple," "Sugar Magnolia," "Candyman," "Truckin' " and -- of course -- "Friend Of The Devil." The country-roots influence is strong here as well, in a more cohesive and captivating way than on later albums. A highwater mark for hippie rock and early alternative country.
Pete Graves "Peter 'Bumming Around' Graves Sings Good Country Music" (Hoss Records, 1974) (LP)
(Produced by Ray Lawrence)
This album, recorded by a genuine old coot named Pete Graves, was recorded in Los Angeles and features nine songs written by Mr. Graves. These include his best-known song, "Bumming Around," originally a big country hit for Jimmy Dean in the early 1950s, and a pop crossover when Dean Martin covered it in 1967. The other songs are less well-known, but even just that one great old song is a helluva legacy.
Duane Gray "Call This Day Gray" (EJ Records, 1986) (LP)
(Produced by Duane Zaloudek & Eddie Joy)
An older dude playing an interesting song selection - traditional cowboy stuff like "Red River Valley" and some Ernest Tubb, along with more modern songs by Terry Allen, Billy Joe Shaver, and a couple of originals by Duane Zaloudek, who produced the album (and was possibly Gray himself...???)
Roy Gray "Don't Give It Up" (C'n'G Music, 1988) (LP)
(Produced by Curt James & Frank Anderson)
Rockabilly pop-twang from Sacramento, California -- retro, Elvis-y stuff with a slick, post-Stray Cats style reminiscent of Chris Isaak, another San Joaquin Valley local who was still coming up in the regional Northern California scene at the time... Though this album has a contemporary sound, Gray also got into full Elvis imitator mode when he wanted to, just as bohunky and hip-twisty and uhn-uhh-huh as you please. Dunno much about this guy, but I think he was still playing gigs well into the 2010's.
Jack Grayson "A Loser's Night Out" (Silver Bear/Koala Records, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Bob Morris, Bernie Vaughn & Jack Grayson)
Colorado-born Jack Lebsock (aka Jack Grayson) was pretty strictly a Back Forty kinda guy, but he did make it onto the country charts, and also placed a few of his own songs with better-known, established country artists, notably Hee Haw star Roy Clark. Grayson cut a few singles for Capitol in the early '70s, though after they tanked he went indie and had a fair amount of success on the charts, even cracking into the Top 40 on a couple of occasions. Not earthshaking stuff, but perfectly competent examples of slickly produced, low-end early '80s country-pop, with kind of a whiteboy soul feel. Basically, if you felt like you were running short of Joe Stampley albums, Jack Grayson was there to fill the void.
Jack Grayson "When A Man Loves A Woman" (Koala Records, 1981) (LP)
Jack Grayson "Jack Grayson Sings" (Joe-Wes Records, 1982) (LP)
(Produced by Bernie Vaughn & Jack Grayson)
This album appears to include re-recordings of several of his older hits ("A Loser's Night Out," "When A Man Loves A Woman," etc.) though it might also be a compilation album, drawing on his earlier albums... The liner notes mention that this was recorded at the Koala studios. At any rate, it's okay stuff... Commerically oriented pop-country, with uneven vocals and slick production. I could live without all the saxophone, though.
Greater DeKalb Area Municipal Footstompin' Ensemble "Culture From The Cornfields" (Hybrid Records) (LP)
(Produced by Andy Waterman)
Dunno much about this one, just whispered rumors from frightened men with broken minds who tried to crack the mysteries of the universe, in defiance of the will of the gods. Oh, wait... where was I? Oh, yeah, this looks like an interesting album late 1970s longhair jug band... Could be lots of fun, if you can track it down!
Great Speckled Bird "Great Speckled Bird" (Bearsville, 1970)
(Produced by Todd Rundgren)
Canadian folk-pop icons Ian & Sylvia Tyson "went country" on this experimental album, which featured musical assistance by blues-roots guitarist Amos Garrett and steel player Buddy Cage, as well as the Bearsville label's own "wrecking crew" of guitarist Jim Colegrove, piano player Jeff Gutcheon and drummer N.D. Smart, who formed the band Hungry Chuck in 1971, just as Great Speckled Bird was running out of steam... Only briefly in print, this is considered by many to be a landmark album from the early years of the country-rock genre.
Great Speckled Bird "You Were On My Mind" (Columbia, 1972) (LP)
Great Speckled Bird "Great Speckled Bird" (197-?) (LP)
(Produced by Tom Dotson & Craig Rousch)
Not to be confused with the East Coast country-rock band that backed Ian & Sylvia in the early '70s, this obscure Colorado trio included drummer Greg Eden, bassist Steven Wilcox, and guitarist/singer Fred Walking (aka Rattlesnake, who wrote most of the songs.) They were perhaps more of a rock-oriented bar band, playing surf songs and rock originals, apparently with no "country" instruments such as fiddle, banjo or pedal steel. Not sure what year this came out -- some sources say 1973, but the band's portrait on the front cover definitley looks like more of a late-1970s thing, with post-feathered hair and aviator glasses. According to the liner notes, they group had been playing together for five years when they recorded this album: the music was recorded live at the Rialto Theater in Florence, Colorado and Pueblo Mountain Park in Beulah, CO, on September 1st and 2nd, and one of the shows was the band's fifth anniversary concert. Anyone out there have more info about these guys?
The Great White Possum String Company "The Great White Possum String Company" (Professional Artist Records, 1977) (LP)
The lone album (I think) by this bluegrassy band from Saint Louis, Missouri.
Country Al Green "It Seems Like Only Yesterday: The Music Of Ken Smith" (Spartan Records, 1972) (LP)
(Produced by Rocky Stone)
A New England artist on a Boston label, Country Al Green sang country ballads in the style of Eddy Arnold and Hank Locklin -- smooth, croony stuff with a deep sentimental vein. All the songs were written by his pal, a guy named Ken Smith, and his ouvre taps into the rich, rewarding tradition of country weepers of the 1940s and '50s. The songs may be better than the performances -- though Green ends up as a likeable figure, the anonymous backing band do sound a bit lax and even awkward at times. Overall, though, a swell album for fans of old-school Nashville Sound music who might be looking for some records that are a little more obscure and off the beaten track. Includes laudatory liner notes from Dick Curless.
Bobby Green "In The Country With Bobby Green" (MajLin Records) (LP)
Country gospel singer Bobby Green was born in Bentonville, Arkansas, though this album was released on a label from Escondido, California... Anyone know much about this guy?
Dale Green & The Country Ramblers "Country Green" (Tank Records) (LP)
(Produced by Monty Bird & Bob Young)
This UK band hailed from England's short-lived Humberside County, which was adjacent to Yorkshire in the North. The group included Dale Green (lead vocals and guitar), Barry Schiech (rhythm guitar), Ken Wood (bass), Mick Edwards (drums) and Dave Wheelhouse (pedal steel) and had been together for two years before recording this album... The set list was packed with American cover songs, with material by Buck Owens, Freddy Fender, Kris Kristofferson, et. al.
The Greenfield Hands "Shades Of Country" (Greenfield, 1974) (LP)
A longhaired country band from Newton, Kansas (near Wichita). They play country standards, with some original material, such as guitarist Jon Miller's "Sagebrush."
Country Lee Green "Diesel Made Of Gold" (MCR, 1974) (LP)
A fella from Oklahoma who wrote a bunch of original material for this album... Green started out in his teens, working regionally in the mid-1950s, notably performing on radio station KLPR, which also boosted the careers of fellow Okies such as Tommy Collins and Wanda Jackson... On this uber-indie album he plays mostly his own compostions, in a solid honkytonk mode.
Green Mountain Fever "Green Mountain Fever" (Lunker Records, 1981) (LP)
Norman Greenbaum "Petaluma" (Warner Brothers, 1972)
After making a bundle on his Top-40 pop hit, "Spirit In The Sky," Greenbaum tuned in and dropped out, investing his cash in a chicken farm out in Petaluma, California (which at the time was way out in the boonies...) The quiet life agreed with him, and this goofy little album is one of the hidden gems from the early '70s, featuring some nice assist by Ry Cooder on mandolin and guitar. The title track is great, along with the other enchanting ditties on here.
Norman Greenbaum "Spirit In The Sky: The Best Of Norman Greenbaum" (Varese Sarabande, 1995)
A strong best-of set, which is only deficient in one regard: his rock stuff takes precedence over the twang of the Petaluma album, from which they pluck a couple of songs, but not nearly enough. Still, if you just want to hear that big, fat rhythm riff from "Spirit In The Sky," well -- here it is!
Johnnie Greene & His Zane Valley Boys "Twelve Songs" (Zane Records, 196--?) (LP)
There's no date given on this album, but it's old enough that the inner label includes a note, "vocal with string inst. acc.," the kind of thing you'd see on 78s from the 1930s and '40s. This record is more modern than that, though: the liner notes are from deejay Bob Duff, host of the "Country Junction" program on radio station WCIT, a 250-watt microstation in Lima, Ohio, which went on the air in 1959. Plus the repertoire includes songs by Jim Reeves and early stuff by Willie Nelson, so I'm guessing this disc came out during the station's first incarnation, before it began playing Top Forty pop, maybe around 1963-64. Anyway, the Zane Valley Boys played straight-up old school country stuff, covers of hits such as "Frauline," "Funny How The Time Slips Away" and "Little Ole Dime" and some oldies like Hank Williams's "Cold Cold Heart" and Bob Wills's "San Antonio Rose." The band included Bobby Reber on steel guitar, Kenny Haugh playin lead on an amped-up Spanish guitar, Farrall Walty on bass and Bill Barry on drums.
Smokey Greene "...With Jimmy Hamblin, Al Bain, Gary Blodget" (Green Mountain Records, 196-?) (LP)
Green's Creek Band "Down Home Weekend" (Pisgah Records, 1977-?) (LP)
A North Carolina country-rock band with a largely original repertoire, along with some cover songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama." Couldn't find out much about these folks, though, other than thet they seem to have come from around Sylva, NC, in the state's rural Green's Creek region: anyone have insights or info?
Greezy Wheels "Juz Loves Dem Ol' Greezy Wheels" (London, 1975) (LP)
(Produced by Garrison Leykam & Peter Hay)
The first album by this venerable Texas band... an admittedly iffy mix of hippiedelic boogie-rock with a hint of Grateful Dead-ish jam-band-ism, and lots and lots of conga drums. The opening track, "Get My Mind Together," features gruff, swampy vocals by bandleader Cleve Hattersley and has a weird kind of Jerry-Reed-meets-the-Grateful-Dead sound. The next few tracks add female vocals into the mix, provided by Hattersley's sister Lissa and by his wife, fiddler "Sweet" Mary Hattersley, giving the band a passing similarity to Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks. The Wheels enjoyed a long stint as the house band at Austin's fabled Armadillo World Headquarters concert hall, and as a result were lumped in with the indie/outlaw country scene. That connection was borne out more on their second album, but on this debut disc they were way more of a ragged hippie rock band, while taking a few dips into jazzy riffs and regional styles. Take for example the Spanish-Latin tinge of their cover of Willie Nelson's "I Never Cared For You," one of only a few cover tunes on this album. Lissa and Cleve Hattersley wrote most of the original material, with her "Standing In The Light" being an album highlight, particularly with her proto-Lucinda Williams-y vocals. This album is a good document of its times, though less twangy than one might hope... You really gotta be a fan of hippie grove music to get into this one.
Greezy Wheels "Radio Radials" (London, 1976) (LP)
(Produced by Garrison Leykam & Peter Hay)
Perhaps you can mark the moment when Texas country became cooler than Texas rock as falling somewhere between the first and second Greezy Wheels albums: Willie Nelson had ascended to full godhood, and these scruffy jammers went for full-on twang. The album opens with an odd, hybrid reggae-boogie funk tune, but it's track #2 that seals their fate in the outlaw country canon. "Country Music And Friends" is a stone cold classic, with its faux evangelical Christian lyrics paired with an awesome, irresistible chorus (cataloging the best things in life, circa 1976 Austin: "cocaine, country music, and good old Lone Star beer...") while Mary Hattersley's elegant fiddle break provides some truly classy twang. Deeper into the album, the band's Dan Hicks-ishness is cemented on acoustic jive tunes like "Feel Like A Devil," "Heartburn" and "Dirty Old Man" (all with Lissa Hattersley singing lead...) There are still a few clunkers on here, but this album is much smoother and less rock-oriented than their debut, and generally more fun. I don't like all the songs, but it's hard to imagine there ever coming a time in life when I wouldn't get a little jolt playing "Country Music And Friends" just one more time. That's really what makes this album a keeper.
Wayne Gregory "Here I Am" (Soundtech Studios, 1985) (LP)
(Produced by Hal Rugg, Joe Gibson & Milton Blackford)
A Nashville outing from an Arizona bar-band singer... All the songs were written by a fella named Gary W. Allen, and recorded at the Jack Clements studio with Jerry Reed playing acoustic and electric, Lloyd Green and Hal Rugg on steel, Hargus Robbins on piano and Gary Allen singing backup...
Wayne Gregory & CC Company "Live At The Brite Spot" (Flo-Ren, 1985)
(Produced by Chris Gussa)
Recorded live in 1985 at The Brite Spot, in Palominas, Arizona... The set list is all cover songs, stuff like "Release Me," Lay Down Sally," "Rose Colored Glasses" and "It's Such A Pretty World Today." His band included Larry Paycheck and Patty Paycheck, with Jimmy Curl on drums.
Bill Gress & Country Blue "Live At Rex's Nite Club" (Glacier Records, 1974) (LP)
High plains country-pop bandleader Bill Gress led the house band at Rex's Nite Club, a watering hole in Kalispell, Montana (in the West end of the state's Flathead Valley, just north of Missoula...) This album has a lot going for it, starting with the tinny, fake-live applause, which sounds like it was stripped from an old Beatles concert. The music is perky, with bouncy guitar riffs and charmingly uneven vocals... Bassist-emcee Gress has a sort of optimistic, can-do style, reminiscent perhaps of Del Reeves, while his sister, "girl" singer Betty Lou Armstrong -- pictured on the cover in provocative though hopelessly outdated go-go boots and midi skirt -- had a slightly folkish sound, equal parts Judy Collins and Donna Fargo. Some groovy chicken-pickin' guitar and really nice pedal steel... All in all, a swell example of a real-live, working country-lounge band in the upper plains states during the "Me Decade" early '70s. Fun stuff!
Tom Gribbin "Saltwater Gypsy" (Mariner, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by David Williamson, Harry Dailey & Tom Gribbin)
Hailing from St. Petersburg, Florida, corporate lawyer-turned-honkytonk-outlaw Tom Gribbin may have paid allegiance to Jimmy Buffett, but he sounds most like Waylon Jennings, growling in a Waylonesque brogue and covering "Waymore's Blues" along with a strong set of mostly-original material in the same mode. Gribbin seems to have been tight with songwriter Danny Flowers, who plays guitar on this album and co-wrote one of the tracks with Gribbin. Also in studio was keyboardist Biff Watson and some other Nashville session players, although this album album wasn't just packed with Music City hired guns. Gribbin wrote or co-wrote five of the songs, and his harmonica player wrote a sixth... Perhaps the biggest surprise is an original reggae song, "Johnny Deepwater," and a cover of the punk anthem "Guns Of Brixton," by the Clash (Gribbin went to England and played some clubs during the early punk era, and came back impressed by the DIY ethos. This album's kind of slick and commercially oriented, but definitely as indie as they come. (Note: this was reissued in the UK as Son Of Lightning with a different track sequence, though the songs are all the same.)
Tom Gribbin & The Saltwater Cowboys "Useppa Island Rendezvous" (Mariner, 1984) (LP)
Tony 'Jarfly' Griffin "Southbound Train" (Bellaphon, 1982) (LP)
(Produced by Wayne Goforth)
Cowboy-ish folk-blues in a Ramblin' Jack Elliott/Townes Van Zandt-ian mode. Griffin was a Californian who got rambling fever and made his way to Nashville, where he got into music and learned to play while hanging out with bluegrassers such as Red Rector and Phil Ledbetter, who he credits with giving him his nickname. Although he learned to play from bluegrassers, this is much more of a folk-roots poet type of album, with several traditional songs along with a bunch of Griffin originals that sure sound like traditional songs. Townes fans, in particular, might really like this one.
Glenda Griffith "Glenda Griffith" (Ariola, 1977) (LP)
(Produced by Don Henley & Jim Ed Norman)
A very, very, very LA in-crowd album with backing by a sizeable portion of The Eagles (Don Henley on drums, Don Felder and Joe Walsh playing guitar and Eagles producer Bill Szymczyk mixing the tracks...) as well as Carole King playing piano on a couple of songs and contributing a song called "Eagle," as well as a whole slew of folks from the Southern California soft-rock/country-rock studio scene in tow: Karla Bonoff, Valerie Carter, Danny Korchmar, J.D. Souther, Waddy Wachtel, et. al. Griffith seems to have been a particular protegee of Danny O'Keefe, recording four of his songs and getting him to back her on one track; she herself contributes two originals to the repertoire. This is mostly a '70 pop record, in a lush, sometimes overripe Carole King/Carly Simon-esque mode, though with enough hints of twang to qualify it for mention here... The songs featuring the Eagles dudes sound very Eagles-y, with specific riffs and production touches that are lifted straight from the Hotel California playbook, just with a gal singing rather than Henley and his peeps. Really, though, I guess this is more of a buyer-beware review: I kept seeing this popping up in country bins and finally had to check it out, but there isn't really much twang on it. Her cover of Marty Robbins' "Don't Worry About Me" spotlights Sneaky Pete Kleinow on pedal steel and has a nice, plinky honky-tonk vibe, though her vocals are underwhelming; some nice steel work on O'Keefe's "Quits," which appropriately enough closes the album out.
Jimmy Griggs "Lonely Blue Boy" (Gusto Records, 1973) (LP)
(Produced by Tommy Hill)
An interesting mid-period album from Gusto Records, and a nice break from their usual 'Seventies mode of cheapie reissues of trucker tunes and old Starday sessions. This is an odd but ultimately charming set of original material, some of it clunky and some of it reasonably robust, with a mix of would-be countrypolitan and goofy novelty numbers. Objectively speaking, the more emotive numbers are kind of "bad," but they have their charms -- mainly, that Griggs was really putting his heart into the performances. The highlight is probably the topically-themed, moodily apocalyptic "Beginning Of The End," where he comments on the "free love" scene of the early '70s, and wonders aloud what the world is coming to... There are also several decent straight-ahead country numbers, including "Charlotte, North Carolina," an early Gary Stewart song which was the flipside to the single, and one of the strongest tracks on the album, along with "Overloaded Diesel," a Dave Dudley-style saga about a trucker being chased by an angry husband across several state lines. Griggs had previously released several singles on the Boot Heel label and the ready availability of promo copies of this album suggests that Gusto really made a go of getting him in the charts. But for whatever reasons it didn't quite click and he faded from view. The record's worth checking out, though, both as kitsch and as country, and was a noble experiment on the part of the normally rather conservative Gusto label.
Frank Grill "The Hands You're Holding Now" (Custom Fidelity) (LP)
(Produced by David A. Owens)
A singer from Pittsburgh, PA, Frank Grill sang mostly covers -- of George Jones, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, Pee Wee King and others -- as well as two originals that he wrote, "Face In The Mirror" and "We'll Be Together."
Gord Grills "Songs And Recitations" (Paragon) (LP)
(Produced by Jack Boswell & Bill Bossey)
Canadian country from Ontario, with Joe Aylward (who later recorded as a solo artist) on lead guitar...
Michael 'Bo' Griner "Takin' The Chance" (Blue Horizon Records, 1982-?) (LP)
(Produced by Joe Bob Barnhill & Gene Rice)
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia singer Bo Griner had been in both secular and gospel bands, had quit music and come back to it before traveling to Nashville to cut this disc, which is packed with songs he wrote. Although he clearly had Top Forty aspirations, he never really made the leap to Nashville, and headed back to Atlanta, where he played hotels and clubs and whatnot. Several Nashville "usual suspect" studio guys are backing him here, with Hoot Hester and Mark O'Connor playing fiddle, Hargus Robbs on piano, Hal Rugg playing steel guitar...
David Grisman -- see artist profile
George Gritzbach "Had Your Gritz Today?" (Kicking Mule, 1976) (LP)
East Coast blues picker George Gritzbach's played folk and blues clubs throughout Massachusetts and greater New England in the early '70s before recording this fine acoustic album, which is deeply rooted in the "country blues" style of the 1920s and '30s. It's a fine album, similar to the work of contemporaries such as Bob Brozman and Stefan Grossman, though this blues revival work doesn't show the same unique flair of his original material that he'd record on his next album. Acoustic blues fans will want to check this one out, though Americana/alt-country fans might enjoy his later stuff more.
George Gritzbach "The Sweeper" (Kicking Mule, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by David Budries)
Another solid acoustic blues set, mostly of original material, including a few songs that adventure forth into funkier, more inventive blues-Americana territory... The uptempo title track, "The Sweeper And The Debutante" is a lusty, steamy novelty song that recalls David Bromberg's "Sharon," while on the other end of the emotional spectrum, the eerie, spectral "Mr. Fat's Sad Surprise" tells the tale of a rich tycoon meeting up with Death itself, with Gritzbach accompanied by what sounds like the mournful ghost of a tortured oboe. "Long As It's Green" is another nice, good-natured tune, while much of the rest of the record fits right into the straight-and-narrow of the '70s acoustic blues revival. I remember hearing "The Sweeper" on KFAT a bazillion times, back in the goodle days, and enjoyed playing it on the air myself a time or two. Afterwards, Gritzbach went for a heavier, more electrified sound, but this early acoustic set was a real gem.
George Gritzbach "All American Song" (Flying Fish, 1984) (LP)
(Produced by David Budries & George Gritzbach)
A mellow, rather subdued in which Gritzbach strikes a contemplative tone and even tackles some political themes, particularly the issues of nuclear proliferation and the Cold War tensions of the Reagan era. The arms race is most directly addressed on "Talkin' Freeze," a song inspired by the grassroots "nuclear freeze" movement, with an urgency and earnestness that is reprised on "Red Alert." He also sings about economic inequality ("Off The Wall Street Blues"), evolution ("Common Denominator") and ecology ("Creole Chill") as well as love and romance, as of old. The album's most durable song may be the closing number, "Seeds Of Tomorrow," which echoes the political themes explored earlier, but more gently and more subtly. This can be seen as a transitional album -- still anchored in the acoustic rag-and-blues style of his earlier albums -- though it's also a lot more glum and downcast. Even though he's preaching positive social change, Gritzbach sounds kind of low-energy and down in the dumps... I guess looking into the abyss can do that for you. At any rate, although this album isn't as vibrant as his stuff from the '70s, it's still got some good stuff on it, and is certainly worth checking out.
Larry Groce "The Wheat Lies Low" (RCA-Daybreak, 1970)
Larry Groce "Crescentville" (RCA-Daybreak, 1972)
Larry Groce "Junkfood Junkie" (Warner Brothers, 1976) (LP)
It can be hard not to be considered a "one-hit wonder," especially when your big hit blows up as huge as the title track to this amiable folk-pop outing. The bouncy, deliciously delivered song was a good-natured spoof of the growing "natural foods" movement of the 'Seventies, and it became one of the biggest radio hits of the Bicentennial, as popular with the hippie-hating "straights" as with the longhairs and liberals who if nothing else proved that they could take a joke as well as the next guy. It's funny, though, it never occurred to me, until just now, that Larry Groce might have actually written -- hell, he might even have sung -- other songs besides "Junkfood Junkie," and that he might actually deserve a spot in the '70s hippie-country pantheon. That suspicion is borne out by a cursory Google search which reveals that Groce was the founder of the venerable "Mountain Stage" radio show, which helped give national exposure to many to some of the biggest stars of the budding Americana and Adult-Alt music genre in the 1980s and '90s. Go figure. Heck, maybe some day I'll have to check the rest of this record out!
Gary Dean Growden "Sunshine On The Rocks" (Little Nashville, 1977) (LP)
(Produced by Don D. Sheets & Joe Edwards)
Except for a cover of Neil Diamond's "Gichy Goomy," this is a set of all original material... And it was recorded in Nashville, too, but not the Nashville you're thinking of... In this case it was Nashville, Indiana, an itty bitty little hamlet just East of Bloomington. Where, apparently, they have country singers! This looks like it might have been a "song-poem" album, with producer Don Sheets and his wife, Marti Mae Sheets, along with other family members and hired hands, playing the music that was "provided" by Gary Growden. The band also includes steel guitar by Joe Tippie and backup vocals by the Marti Mae Singers, led by Ms. Sheets.
Gib Guilbeau -- see artist profile
Guilbeau & Parsons "Louisiana Rain" (Ace/Big Beat, 2002)
Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons were both stalwart members of the Southern California psychedelic country scene, with stints in the Burrito Brothers and the Byrds, as well as numerous other country-rock projects that dotted the landscape back in the 1960s and '70s. This disc gathers a trove of dimly-remembered 1967-70 work on Gary Paxton's independent Bakersfield International label, which served as a fermenting pot of the nascent hippiebilly sound... These guys'll sound instantly familiar to anyone who's grooved to Gram Parsons or the country-era Byrds, with the same whiny, wandering vocals and tentatively twang and slightly constricted pedal steel playing, and -- of course -- guitarist Clarence White anchoring the later sessions. Guilbeau, who had been working as a country and folk singer for over a decade before hooking up with Parsons, wrote almost all of the material and added a cajun flair to many of the songs, also writing plenty of spaced-out, searching lyrics. In country terms, it's not great material (though there are a few catchy tunes), but seen as a stepping stone into the bigger LA country-rock scene, this material is historically quite important. It's also pretty good for what it is -- just 'cause I have trouble getting into this kind of stuff doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out. If you're a Byrds fan, in particular, you're gonna love it.
The Gularte Valley Knights "Presenting..." (GBR Studios, 1975-?) (LP)
(Produced by Gary Boyd)
A super-obscuro, locals-only band from California's Great Central Valley, this back-to-basics, early '70s set features some guys from Delhi, CA, a tiny town south of Modesto. As far as I can tell, there's no actual place called Gularte Valley; the group takes its name from bassist Rick Gularte and mandolin picker Manuel Gularte, who anchored the band along with lead guitarist John Montgomery, singer Sandy Maule and drummer Dick Warn. Steel guitarist Ivan Ward -- who played on a few Northern California records during the '70s -- also chips in, as well as bass player and pianist Reggie Folks. The repertoire mixes early '70s roots hits like "Polk Salad Annie," "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues," Ronnie Milsap's "Pure Love" and Billy Swan's "I Can Help" with oldies like "White Lightning" and a little bit of old-school pop-soul, including covers of Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" and Gene McDaniels' "100 Pounds Of Clay." There's one original tune, Sandy Maule's "I'm Sorry Too," a nice country weeper that was recorded separately from the rest of the album (maybe he made a solo single?) I'm not exactly sure when this one came out, or how long the band was together... They also recorded at least one single ("Your Cheating Heart" backed with "That's Alright Mama") and the band was still doing gigs like local rodeos and the Mariposa Country Fair as late as 1980 and '81. Also, Sandy Maule seems to have stuck around the Modesto area, and was singing in local bars as recently as 2015. Anyone out there with more info about these guys? I'm all ears!
Stan Gunn "Two Sides Of Stan Gunn" (Sugar Hill Records) (LP)
Stan Gunn was a former rockabilly singer, perhaps best known for his novelty classic, "Baby Sitter Boogie," which he recorded with his brothers Elmo and Leon. Like many rockabilly rebels, Gunn later went country, working the Midwestern country lounge circuit, from Iowa and South Dakota over to the Rocky Mountains and down to Kentucky. He recorded several albums, often empahsizing the theme of his versatility, i.e. his ability to sing both "country" and "pop." Gunn was apparently born in Kentucky, though he moved around a lot, and made Iowa his base of operations for several years, around the time he recorded thse records.
Stan Gunn "Two Sides Of The Stan Gunn Musical Revue" (Y Records) (LP)
This album also includes contributions from Elmo Gunn, Leon Gunn and Stan Keeler...
Stan Gunn "...Sings Town And Country" (Sugar Hill Records, 1974) (LP)
Recording for a label in Springfield, Illinois, crooner Stan Gunn once again "shows versatility" on a set that includes country standards such as "Release Me" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" with a few "town" pop songs such as "Danny Boy" and "Spanish Eyes," as well as contemporary hits like "Sunday Morning Coming Down." The defining quality of this album seems to be its connection to songwriter Alex Zanetis, a Nashville pro who probably had a few new tunes to promote at the time, leading me to believe that this disc was a publisher's showcase album.
John Gunter "...The Singing Sheriff: Captive Audience" (Captive Audience, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Darrell Powell & Rick Smith)
A veteran paratrooper decorated in the Korean War, John Gunter returned to civilian life and became sheriff of Madison County, Indiana. He also developed a sideline as an entertainer, and recorded at least two albums, working with locals from around his hometown of Anderson, IN. This album features a bunch of original songs written by producers Rick Smith and Darrell Powell, though neither songwriter played in the band.
John Gunter "Old Hymns For A Young Heart" (Captive Audience, 1981) (LP)
Gun Shy "Gun Shy" (Centron Records, 1979)
A moderately competent bar band from Chico, California, led by guitarist Cliff Mickelson, which as far as I know just made this one record. Mickelson wrote three of the seven original songs on here, including "Sweet Country Living," which is the album's most overtly twangy tune. The record is packed with cover tunes such as "Battle Of New Orleans," "North To Alaska," and "Rocky Top," and these tracks are at odds with the originals by Mickelson, lead singer David William Peck and bassist J. B. Keator. This is both because they veer into a kind of bright, sunshine-pop AOR style, and because they play their own songs with much more vigor and conviction than the cover songs. It really sounds like they were just padding the album out and didn't give a hoot about the oldies. Nothing earthshaking here, but another memento of a locals-only band, this time from California's Central Valley. Guess it also didn't help that some rock band came up with the same band name a couple of years later... Oh, well. Them's the breaks.
Hardrock Gunter "The Music Of Hank Williams" (1972) (LP)
Gustafson "Long Time Layin' Down" (Royalty Records, 1977) (LP)
He was Canadian... looks pretty "outlaw..." But I'm still looking for more info...
Arlo Guthrie "The Best Of Arlo Guthrie" (Warner Brothers, 1977)
A nice best-of set that includes most of his best-known songs, and a couple of off-the-radar tunes as well. It kicks off with Arlo's sprawling, freakulent shaggy-dog classic, "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," and adds "The Motorcycle Song," the bouncy smuggler's ballad, "Coming Into Los Angeles," and several soulful acoustic tunes such as the mournful "Last Train," "Darkest Hour," and his big hit version of Steve Goodman's "City Of New Orleans." It's a modest set, though, and could be longer -- mostly what I'd like to have added is my other Arlo Guthrie fave, "Hobo's Lullaby," although I guess in an age of digital downloads, that's less of a bummer than it used to be. This is a good introduction to Guthrie's work and probably for most listeners about as much of it as they'll need. Sweet stuff, though.
Arlo Guthrie "Alice's Restaurant" (Reprise, 1967)
Arlo's first album. If the truth be told, there was a time in my life when I was able "Alice's Restaurant" word for word, even the Don Bowman cover version. But those brain cells are gone now. Probably just as well. Also includes the original, less fun, studio version of "The Motorcycle Song," and several folk-psychedelic songs that aren't all that memorable, although they did reveal the young Mr. Guthrie as a surprisingly mature, self-possessed musician, especially for someone as stoned as he must have been at the time.
Lee Guthrie "The Barroom Star" (Zeta Records) (LP)
(Produced by Lee Guthrie & Dee Keener)
An all-original set of hard country tunes from songwriter Lee Guthrie who is seen on the cover posing in front of the "wall of fame" at the bar of the fabled Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville. He recorded this album outside of Nashville, however, mostly at the Ripcord studios in Washington state, as well as a place in Arkansas (which makes me think that's where he was from... Why else make a record there?) Gene Breeden is one of several guitarists on this album, with Eddy Lane playing steel and Hargus Robbins in on some of the sessions as well. The liner notes allude to Lee Guthrie being "born of a great musical heritage," but they don't specify what that means... Was he a relative of Woody or Jack? Could be, though I couldn't find any info about it online. At any rate, there's plenty of outlaw twang to be heard on here, with songs like "Honky Tonk Music (And Barroom Time)," "You Don't Have To Be From Texas To Be A Cowboy." To which I say, bartender: another round!
Gypsy "Ladies Love Outlaws" (Worldwide Records, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by R. Copp & Ted Mather)
Vrrrrm! Vrrrrumm!! A solo set by Robert Copp, aka Gypsy, a biker-y dude from Connecticutt who sang about Harleys and outlaws, but wasn't strictly a "country" singer. This album includes several of his own songs, including "Highway Gypsy," "I Love You (For Gale)" and "Ladies Love Outlaws" (not the same as the Waylon Jennings hit), as well as "Long Road To Nashville," which was penned by the album's producer, Ted Mather. The album's second side was a live set, with pop vocal covers such as the song "Mariah" (from the musical "Paint Your Wagon") and "The Quest" (from "Man Of La Mancha"). So go figure.
Hick Music Index