Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Did you hear the story about the guy who has a voice like Bill Withers, the heart and soul of Hank Williams, and is a direct descendant of pioneer Davy Crockett? Well, that isn’t fiction, that is the real life tale of Charley Crockett. Charley really does have it all: good looks, style, charisma, and uber talent. This album is proof of that. Just look at the cover. The image is striking and tremendously eye catching. But don’t worry, this isn’t the case of just a pretty cover, this album rocks.
I have never heard anyone successfully mix so many genres together in such a flawless manner. And this is still honky tonk as all get out. And Charley even has a horn section! When was the last time you saw honky tonk and horn section in the same paragraph? I am going to say this is the first time until someone proves otherwise.
Charley can sing blues, honky tonk, soul, and rhythm and blues. Lonesome As A Shadow has all that and more. Oh, I forgot to mention rockabilly and Tejano music. Those two elements come alive in Goin’ Back To Texas (Track 11). This song is pure joy. A real bluesy, boogie woogie number with accordion solos that really mix the Tex with the Mex. The piano parts on Goin’ Back To Texas are 100% New Orleans, where Charley spent a number of years. This is a true gumbo.
The album starts of nicely with another Tejano/Soul number that has that timeless quality. The song of which I speak is I Wanna Cry (Track 1). Another song with lots of accordion parts that give it that south of the border feel. This is another song that pays homage to Charley’s birthplace, Texas. The star of this show is Charley’s smooth and silky voice. That voice is capable of raw emotion and production of chills in the listener. So listener beware.
Those people that like classic country, fear not. The Sky’s Become Teardrops (Track 2) is honky tonk heaven with some absolutely gorgeous pedal steel fills. If you are expecting something totally traditional, step away. This song takes a sharp left at around a minute and 15 seconds. That is when this song breaks into almost a disco beat. Charley gives a taste of 70s style soul. The tempo completely changes into a dance number for about 20 seconds. On paper, that doesn’t sound all that appealing. Don’t believe what’s on the paper. Trust your ears. It works really really well.
I have been anxiously awaiting Charley’s follow up to 2017’s Lil G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee. While that was mostly covers, it was performed and recorded beautifully and really showed Charley’s vast knowledge of country music. On that one, Charley covered everyone from Roy Acuff to Hank Williams. I wanted to hear Charley’s originals and I am not disappointed, not in the least. This is a keeper for sure!