Johnny Horton

Famous Country Music Makers

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Best known for his various narrative "historical" songs like "The Battle of New Orleans," Johnny Horton was also an accomplished honky tonk singer, where his rockabilly background gave his early tracks for Columbia Records a pronounced punch. This 20-track set includes the best of those early sides, including Horton's classic 1956 version of "Honky Tonk Man," a record that still sounds fresh and vital some 50 years later (Dwight Yoakam's recent hit cover of the song simply reproduces Horton's original template for it, thus proving the point), the almost as classic "I'm a One-Woman Man," the wry "(I Wished for an Angel) The Devil Sent Me You," and the clattering, zippy "Big Wheels Rollin'," but the later narrative hits like "North to Alaska" and "The Battle of New Orleans" are absent, which makes this somewhat of an incomplete portrait. But Horton was no pretender in the honky tonk realm (he even married Hank Williams' widow, after all), and this compilation is perfect evidence of that.

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