Harlan Howard

All Time Favorite Country Songwriter

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By 1965, Harlan Howard had seen 400 of his songs recorded, with easily a dozen going on to become not only chart-topping hits but country classics as well. Close friend and Monument Records president Fred Foster thought it would be a great idea to bring in Nashville's best pickers and showcase an album of Howard singing his own greatest hits. The result is an album that's fascinating listening; the musicianship is spot-on and Howard has a way of singing his own material that has a reflectiveness missing from the better-known hit versions, fine as they are. The song lineup is astounding alone: "Busted," "Heartaches by the Number," "I Fall to Pieces," "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," "Too Many Rivers." Any one of these songs would have made the career of a lesser writer; that they came from the pen of one writer alone is even more staggering. Harlan Howard may not be the greatest interpreter of his own material, but this album nonetheless shines for the small, folksy jewel it is.

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