Red Simpson

Red Simpson Sings a Bakersfield Dozen

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Red Simpson was the king of concept-oriented albums long before anyone else. In fact, his first six albums were all concepts. This one centers on his infatuation with his residence in Nash Vegas West, where both Merle Haggard and Buck Owens lived and worked. The Bakersfield sound is a hard country, twang-heavy one. And Simpson, who wrote all but three of the songs here -- two others were written with Owens and one by the unknown but amazing Cliff Crawford. There are no themes that have to do with Bakersfield specifically, but it's that pedal steel/fiddle-driven ambience that clues listeners in immediately. Simpson was absorbed by the themes of the mid-'60s such as "Mini Skirt Minnie" from Memphis, TN -- and he being a California boy -- and then there's the forlorn tunes such as "I'm Gonna Write Momma for Money" (so a country boy can leave the city because he's got the blues). "George for a Day" is one of the most ludicrous songs Simpson ever wrote, but he sings the hell out of it. He's talking about George Jones here folks, which should tell you something. "It's My Last Night in Town" is a barnburning honky tonker, as is "Jeannie With the Light Brown Cadillac." This one kicks it, and you should too with a beer or some other beverage and laugh your ass off at this glorious but goofy album.