Jonathan Edwards

Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy

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Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy -- singer/songwriter Jonathan Edwards' follow-up to his self-titled debut -- was not as much of a commercial success as its predecessor. However, it is just as strong musically and features a few new twists and an increasingly countrified flavor, which Edwards himself attributes to a renewed interest in country & western artists such as George Jones and Merle Haggard. Combined with some tasty down-home contributions from occasional Stray Gator Ben Keith (pedal steel guitar), the somewhat schizophrenic nature of the album may very well have confused those looking and listening for the next "Sunshine" -- which was more akin to the pop radio-friendly acoustic folk sound of America or James Taylor. Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy does have a few pop-oriented moments, however. Primary among them is the opening track, "Stop and Start It All Again," a spry rocker that could easily have fit onto the first album. "It's a Beautiful Day" likewise continues much in the standard of the first album. Those notable exceptions aside, Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy is more laid-back, with a sound and delivery reminiscent of the well-crafted material on Dillard & Clark's The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark and Through the Morning, Through the Night. Tracks such as "Everything," "Dues Days Bar," and "Ballad of Upsy Daisy" are noticeably influenced by the concurrently popular Bakersfield sound of artists such as Buck Owens & His Buckeroos. There are a few notable cover tunes included as well. The title track is perhaps best remembered as an early hit for Lefty Frizzell. "Paper Doll" -- which was recorded live at A&R Studios in N.Y.C. -- became a signature tune for the Mills Brothers as far back as the '40s. Folks who enjoyed the Jonathan Edwards disc will also find much to visit and revisit on Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy.

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