Sonny Burns

Satan's a Waitin'

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Sonny Burns was a fine, solid, overlooked performer of the kind bridging the hillbilly and honky tonk eras. You'll find barely any clues to the sources of the 23 tracks on this anthology in the skimpy packaging, but this draws heavily and perhaps exclusively from the material he recorded for the Starday label. The majority of the tracks appeared on 1953-1956 Starday singles, including a couple on which he performed duets with George Jones. Burns isn't nearly as well known as Jones or a number of other good singers in this niche from the era, but the reason for his obscurity isn't evident from the high quality of the selections on this CD. He sings with an appealingly sorrow-tinged voice, and the songs are tautly written and performed. There's a tilt toward the gloomy in matters of both romance and mortality, as the title track and "Six Feet of Earth" indicate. But it's not all that more pronounced than it is in much country music, and Burns also offers some capable uptempo, upbeat numbers like "Too Hot to Handle." Sadly, the four-paragraph liner notes are frankly deficient, with no information as to when the tracks were recorded and released other than a mention of his career starting in the early '50s, with most of the booklet devoted to promoting other items from the Righteous catalog.