Two full albums on one CD by Jimmie Dale Gilmore from formative days on Hightone (1988 – 1989). The Texan’s sound of traditional honky tonk music (fittingly the second album, Jimmie Dale Gilmore opens with a song of that title (Mel Tillis) coupled with a rocking beat sees him zap it to the listener, good and proper.
As the solo career progressed of the founding member of The Flatlanders (Butch Hancock, Joe Ely) he became more accomplished and the music tighter and his singing more poignant. That is not to say these records do not excite my country heart, only he became a better artist as he placed a greater stamp unique to himself. Jimmie Dale’s voice for one has a sound of it’s own. Some might even say Gilmore is of an acquired taste, but I tell you now if you don’t have it then you’re missing out big style!
Gilmore’s nasal vocal style is complemented by The Continental Drifters; David Halley (lead guitar), Paul Glasse (mandolin), Linda Shaw (bass) and Wes Starr (drums) plus honorary drifters Ely (background vocals), Lloyd Maines (steel guitar, Dobro), Mitch Watkins (guitar, bass), John Inmon (lead guitar) and Fred Arc (drums, background vocals) on the San Marcos, Tx recording. As he eases through material from Ely, Hancock, Halley and himself plus exciting covers of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘White Freight Liner Blues’ (where he burns rubber) and ‘Singing The Blues’ (Melvin Endsley). Fair & Square is one of those set of songs you get to appreciate and enjoy the more you hear them; one of the biggest is ‘Just A Wave, Not The Water’. A song Gilmore was to cover a few years later. Both versions are GREAT! Halley’s title-cut ‘Fair & Square’ is a fine song, but his song ‘Rain Just Falls’ is better still. So good is it, it prompts the question how come he never became better known!
Jimmie Dale Gilmore is awash in good old-fashioned honky tonk fashioned music and in Mel Tillis’ ‘Honky Tonk Song’ (that was also covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). There are few better songs to open up a record with. ‘Dallas’ is one of Gilmore’s best-known compositions also has Gilmore's ‘See The Way’ (steeped in steel guitar and fiddle) and from his great friend, Butch Hancock ‘Red Chevrolet’ for company. A bouncy little number it enjoys tinkling piano, fiddle and a wonderful rhythmic beat, plus there's JDG’s ‘Deep Eddy Blues’ (Hank Williams would’ve loved singing it) and from Hancock ‘When The Nights Are Cold’. Sung with lots of soul Gilmore has few peers in the idiom. As for the musicians on board this time round there's Harold Bradley, Tommy Williams, Dale Sellers, Larry Paxton, David Briggs and Jerry Koon lending support on the Nashville production.
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