Riley Puckett

Waitin' for the Evening Mail

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A wonderful performer from the heyday of old-time music, Riley Puckett really came into his own once he stopped being a sideman in various bands and began releasing sides on his own, many of them recorded for the Bluebird label during that company's revolutionary and fabulously successful marketing of various traditional American genres in the '30s. It was then that this performer's eccentric style of keeping time was able to function effectively and expressively without having to cater to the sound of a larger group. Ragtime, sarcastic, or sentimental material was Puckett's forte. In the '70s there was something of a stampede on the part of various independent labels to get long-lost old-time sides out on the marketplace, and this album does overlap slightly with a release on the Homestead label entitled Old Time Greats, Vol. 1. One of his most famous songs, "Ragged but Right," kicks off the first side and even though this was a composition of Carson Robinson, it is the Puckett version that has set the standard for performing this song, later done by many modern country & western artists such as George Jones and Johnny Paycheck. (Authorship is sometimes mistakenly credited to Jones.) Unhappily married listeners may particularly enjoy the tragic but hilarious "I Wish I Was Single Again." Puckett's guitar lines are beautiful, matched by his exquisite vocal delivery.

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