This is the only live collection of Johnny Horton's work on CD. This is the fourth volume in Scena Records' Live Recordings From the Louisiana Hayride series. Previous volumes feature Johnny Cash, June Carter, and George Jones. Some of this material appeared on two different LPs, each issued in 1966: Johnny Horton on Stage and Johnny Horton on the Louisiana Hayride. Sonically, there is no comparison between this set and those previously issued sides, which suffered from poor tape transfers. From the dates of these 15 performances, Horton was a regular on the Hayride circuit. When "Honky Tonk Man" hit in 1956, he appeared twice. His rockabilly version of "John Henry" charted as he appeared twice in three weeks in 1957 and no less than three times in 1958 and 1959 respectively, and twice before his death in 1960. One listen to this collection will uncover the reason in spades: Horton was one bad-ass performer. His sound -- a combination of driving folk rhythms, hardcore honky tonk, and driven by a rockabilly attack -- was singular. Live versions of his hits are here, the aforementioned tunes, "Honky Tonky Hardwood Floor," "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" (as introduced by Homer & Jethro), "Battle of New Orleans," "Sal's Got a Sugar Lip," and "Sink the Bismark." And there are a number of gorgeous ballads here as well, including his own "All for the Love of a Girl." In addition to the music performances -- all with varying but more than acceptable sound quality -- is a commercial from the Hayride stage for a Ford dealership. This is another worthy volume in what is shaping up to be one of the great archival series on CD.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek