Raven continues its fine Gary Stewart reissue program with Steppin' Out, recorded in 1976, and Little Junior, originally issued in 1978, on a single disc. Stewart was recognized by the Nash-Vegas elite, but was never able to quite crossover to major success for two reasons. The first was his voice, which was full of torch, twang and whiskey-ache when Music City producers were doing their best to cover all of that up. The second was his insistence on not filling the spaces with strings and other lush atmospherics that painted up country records after Chet Atkins took over at RCA and popularized the sound. Many have claimed these two records weren't among Stewart's best, but each featured fine versions of other people's songs, including Stewart's excellent readings of Danny O'Keefe's classic "Quits," Sterling Whipple's "In Some Room Above The Street," and Carol Anderson's "I Can't Be Your Backdoor," on the former, and Toy Caldwell's "Can't You See," Wayne Carson's "Whiskey Trip," and Hank Williams' "Honky Tonkin'," on the latter. These two discs also feature some of Stewart's own tunes that rank among his best, including "Flat Born Good Timin' Man," "Easy People," and the title track from Little Junior. Add to this four bonus cuts that include his classic "Let's Forget That We're Married," and his "Honky Tonk Man," and you have one hell of a reissue. Neither of these recordings scale the heights of Out of Hand, but few people even get one of those recordings. These recordings are solid and unforgettable.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek