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Horton Brothers (the)


hortonThe Horton Brothers – Tempo for Two

Texas Jamboree TexJam 0062 [2005]
Hey Little Momma – My Own Two Eyes – North To Dallas – I Ain`t Got Time For Love – More Than I Cay Say – Locked Out Of Love AgainI Had One Too Many – She Tells Me With Her Eyes – Shadows Of The Old Bayou – Yesterday´s Blues – Just Who
Even if they were still active on the scene, The Horton Brothers hadn’t released anything on their own since «Heave Ho» in 2000. But it was worth the wait because this album is simply great. Just have a look at the musicians : playing with Bobby and Billy are Dave Biller, Buck Johnson and T Jarrod Bonta, the same winning team you find on Shaun Young’s Wiggle Walk. Even if this record is still what you can expect from the brothers (sweet harmonies, beautiful melodies…) I should say, comparing to Heave Ho or Roll back The Rug, that this one is less «rural» and sometimes more 60’s. The opening track, Bobby’s Hey Little Momma, has a very Buddy Holly feel with his beat à la Not Fade Away. The Buddy Holly connection continues with the Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison song “More Than I Can Say”. A beautiful version all in subtlety. Another cover, Ruth Brown’s «She Tells Me With Her Eyes» has a very strong Phil Spector feel in it (with those big drums rolls used in place of the “shoo-bee-dooby-wops”). Another highlight is «I Had One Too Many», The Wilburn Brothers song. They really rocked up this one with a wild boogie piano part and it works. But as usal, if the covers are great, the real strenght lays in the songs written by the brothers. «My Own Two Eyes» is by far my favorite with a solid tempo and nice harmonies, and «Yesterday’s Blues» is a beautiful slow tempo with sax (played by Billy).

The Horton Brothers - Hey It's Bobby and Billy
The Horton Brothers – Hey It’s Bobby and Billy

The Horton Brothers – Hey! It’s Bobby and Billy

Crazy Love Records CLLP 6418 [1996]
Hillbilly Hepcat – Smoochin` With My Baby/Please – Hello, Hello – Let`s Go Boppin` Tonight – Talk To You By Hand – The Other Side Of The Moon – The Beaumont Boogie – I Can`t Sit Still – Insomnia – Are You In Love? – Look My Way – Scary Cat – I`m Out

Hey It’s Bobby & Billy” is the debut album from the Horton brothers on which they are backed by top musicians including Shaun Young, Chris Miller, Tjarko, Lisa Pankratz. It contains good moment but to be honest, it’s far from the Horton sound they developped with their following albums. On this platter they are still in the process of learning their chops and finding their style and the album seems to suffer from a lack of direction. Some songs are good and announce “Roll Back The Rug…” but the sound remains a bit modern. It’s even more evident on some rockabilly material like « Look My Way » or « I Can’t Sit Still » that is closer to the Stray Cats than, say, Rusty and Doug. 
Not as essential as the rest of their discography but worth a spin nonetheless.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Horton Brothers (Billy and Bobby)
Horton Brothers

Arty Hill & the Long Gone Daddys

Arty Hill
Arty Hill – Back on the Rail

Arty Hill & the Long Gone Daddys – Back on the rail

Cow Island Music CIM12 {2005}
Living on the Road Again – Jackson Shake – Me & My Glass Jaw – Big Daddy’s Rye – I Left Highlandtown – Based on Real Life – It Ain’t Working – Drifting In – Back On The Rail – I Ate Through the Jail -Tammerlane – When The Sparks Come Falling Down

First issued in 2005, Arty Hill’s debut album is now reissued by the fine folks at Cow Island, and it’s a nice addition to their catalog that already counts The Starline Rhythm Boys, The Dixons, Nate Gibson, Lil Mo in their rank.
On this entirely self-penned album, this three piece band (accoustic rhythm guitar, twangy lead guitar and drums) mixes with success straight Honky Tonk (Me & My Glass Jaw, Drifting In), uptembo numbers with a good dose of rockabilly (Big Daddy Ryes, It Ain’t Working and I Ate Through The Jail based upon a Scotty Moore kind of guitar lick.), and country ballads with solid and intelligent lyrics.
Musically, they are a very cohesive trio : Arty has the perfect voice for that kind of stuff that reminds me a bit of Cam Wagner from Jimmy Roy’s Five Stars Hillbillies (by the way what happened to Cam?). Dave Chappell’s telecaster embellishes the tracks with tasty licks, his guitar talks, answers to Arty, makes you cry, man ! this piece of wood is alive. Last but not least, Craig Stevens. There’s no need of flashy drumming for this kind of music, Craig’s style is spare but efficient and fits completely with the rest.
This is what country music should be : real music by real people for real folks.
Available here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Arty Hill - Montgomery on my Mind
Arty Hill – Montgomery on my Mind

Arty Hill & the Long Gone Daddys – Montgomery On My Mind

Cow Island CIM015 {2009}
Church On Saturday Night – Pan American – I Can’t Help It – I’m A Long Gone Daddy – Don’s Bop – Lovesick Blues – Take This Chains From My Heart – Montgomery On My Mind

Coming from Cow Island your finest purveyor of today’s true country music and Arty Hill comes this tribute to one of the greatest songwriter of all times: Hank Williams. And one couldn’t imagine a better band to do this than the one called the Long Done Daddies, don’t you think?
The good thing is that they never try to recreate Hank’s sound. They play Williams songs their own way. “Pan American” is driven by a hot fiddle (played by guest Patrick McAvinue) echoed by a solid dobro, for a very “bluegrassy” result. Their take on “Lovesick Blues” is in the same vein, almost all acoustic.
I couldn’t believe you could bring something to the near perfection of “I Can’t Help It”. But Arty Hill did, and as incredible as it may sound, it seems evident. They muscle “I’m A Long Gone Daddy” and turn it into a rockin’ number. More surprising (but a good surprise), they apply the same treatment to “Take These Chains From My Heart”.
Another proof of their talent is the three originals they wrote that perfectly blend with Williams’ songs. “Church On Saturday Night” is a tribute to the glorious days of Country Music and the Grand Ole Opry. With lyrics like “Now they can take the Opry / Make it slick and loud / slap it on a T-shirt and sell it to the crowd / but that don’t make Country” you’re sure that this culture is in good hands (and I bet Dale Watson would have loved to write such lyrics).
“Montgomery On My Mind” is a beautiful love songs that takes place in Montgomery, hometown of Williams and “Don’s Bop” is an instrumental tribute to Don Helms, steel guitar player in the Drifting Cowboys.
Hank would sure be very proud.
Available here.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis