Billy Walker

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

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The Tall Texan was back in fine form with Thank You, Thank You Very Much, an all-new album that publicity materials claimed would be Walker's last. The title refers to Elvis Presley in honor of the song "I Saw Elvis at the Wal-Mart," a good novelty that is more entertaining than the clich├ęd subject matter suggests. With a steel guitar, a boot-scooting shuffle beat, and high production values, Walker created an album closer in sound and spirit to his earlier Columbia recordings than his later hits for Monument and MGM. He gave a nod to the past with a remake of Wesley Tuttle's "Detour," but otherwise looked forward with a raft of new originals, all of which showed that his pen still wrote just fine. His voice, too, was remarkably well-preserved for a man in his seventies -- much more so than some of his contemporaries (Ray Price, for example). It was inspiring to hear veteran country stars continuing to create such high-quality music, and in fact Walker said he created his Tall Texan label to maintain artistic control. If so, he seemed to know what he's doing.