Although he’s hardly a name that most contemporary country fans know, Wynn Stewart had a solid career that began in the mid-'50s and stretched into the 1980s, and his prototypical L.A.-based Bakersfield sound paved the way for Buck Owens, Merle Haggard (Stewart gave Haggard his first professional break by hiring him as a bass player in 1962), and later, Dwight Yoakam to refresh and reshape it all the way to the top of the country charts. That traditional California country sound is everywhere in evidence on this wonderful set from Bear Family Records, which collects Stewart's more upbeat tracks, a fun mix of rockabilly, honky tonk, and country boogie sides like the racing “Come On” (there are two versions here, the master and an alternate take), the easy-flowing shuffle of “Donna on My Mind,” the clever and infectious “Man, Man, Mr. Sandman,” and the drifter anthem “Another Day, Another Dollar,” which has ironically re-emerged in the 21st century as the soundtrack to a Volkswagen commercial. This fine playlist doesn’t tell the whole story, of course, with signature Stewart songs like 1956’s “Waltz of the Angels” and 1967’s “It’s Such a Pretty World Today” absent, but it does do a really good job at showing the rocking side of this innovative, influential, and too often unsung country treasure.
Come On Review
by Steve Leggett