Music

Stonewall Jackson: The Mighty Stonewall Sings Modern Hits & Originals

Jason MacNeil

Stonewall Jackson

The Mighty Stonewall Sings Modern Hits & Originals

Label: Koch
US Release Date: 2004-07-27
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

It was 1984 and I was at the Grand Ole Opry with my parents who had traveled down from Atlantic Canada to do the touristy Tennessee music trek -- see the Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, crash Ronnie Milsap's recording studio to see if he was there, and then jaunt down to Memphis to see Graceland. The Saturday night I attended the Grand Ole Opry was also the night that Stonewall Jackson performed. Although hearing "Waterloo" and others considered country classics of his, the man was a bit long in the tooth and the voice heard on vinyl wasn't quite the same as the one onstage.

But after his heyday with Columbia Records, Jackson found himself with Little Darlin', a small but influential label that also worked with others who bent over backwards for the Nashville labels only to be figuratively screwed later on. And this collection shows just why he was so loved back in the proverbial day. The album, recorded around 1979, still reeks of the classic '60s and '70s style of country with the lush orchestration, the high female harmonies and other nuances, but Jackson delivers the goods beginning with "My Favorite Sin". The pedal steel is also vital to getting each of these songs of heartache and longing across. Throughout it all, though, it's his deep Southern timbre and slight twang that makes the 20 tracks quite easy and relaxing on the ears. Another example is the simple country narrative of "We're the Kind of People That Make the Jukebox Play" with its lovable honky tonky sway and barroom piano.

Jackson gets a little more rambunctious on the toe-tapping "I Can't Sing a Love Song" that recalls the good old days of Waylon, Willie, Merle and Johnny. "I've been singin' and dreamin' that's so easy to do / That's all I've been doin' since I've been lovin' you" Jackson sings as the easy-going, heartbroken-go-lucky tune glides along easily. A fiddle is added to give it even more of that country touch but it's really just icing on the cake here. Jackson gets a tad religious on the gospel-leaning "Jesus Took the Outlaw Out of Me" with Jackson offering some of his best performances on this precious, minimal yet engaging ditty. The only downside is you expect an additional verse but there isn't. Hard to find fault with the cheating songs though when a nugget such as "Come On Home and Have Your Next Affair With Me" ensues.

Thus far there is the heartache and cheating, but Jackson finally gives the booze pre-requisite on "The Pint of No Return" with its instant and timeless old-time country gratification that many current country or alt.country bands can't resemble despite the best of intentions. Jackson never lets himself get out of this comfortable groove or tempo for the entire record and, for some strange reason, you never grow tired of it. "Things That Lovers Do" tends to slow the album a bit more with its minimal arrangement and lack of lush background music that is often needless. The production value is often quite good on these tracks but "Spirits of St. Louis" comes off like a recording with the mic either in an air duct overhead or in the next room. Some of the titles themselves you can't help but chuckle (or groan) at, especially the booze-induced "Alcohol Of Fame".

A couple of clunkers are here, especially the cheesy and stale "Sunny Side of the Mountain". And the rendition of "The Long Black Veil" might take a couple of listens to get into as it resembles something Kenny Rogers circa The Gambler might get away with. Nonethless, with homestretch greats such as "Angry Words" and "Leona", it's hard to ignore the brilliance of this country living legend. And by the time you hit "Waterloo", Stonewall Jackson has nothing left to prove. He might be an oldie now, but he was one hell of a goodie!

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image