Billy Walker - Cross The Brazos At Waco

Tuesday 1st February 1994
Billy Walker - Cross The Brazos At Waco

STYLE: Country
RATING 5 5 5 5 5
LABEL: Bear Family 15657

Reviewed by Dave Brassington

He has become a forgotten man in this New Country age, yet in the early 60s Billy cut some of the best Nashville country around, and was one of the biggest stars of the decade. Billy began back in the Hank Williams era, recording for Capitol as far back as 1949. He didn't have a major hit until 1962 when he broke through with "Charlie's Shoes". That was followed by a slew of hits. He was part of country music history. Billy played on Hank Williams' last show, Elvis's first big gig and narrowly missed the plane Patsy Cline and Hawkshaw Hawkins died on after playing the show with them. But that was way back. In recent years Billy's early recordings have been almost impossible to get. Now all is put right with this truly amazing six-CD box collection on which as we get everything he cut for Capital and Columbia. The first CDs are standard 50s country with plenty of steel guitar and fiddle. Then as this set documents the rock 'n' roll sound hit country music so Billy's backings changed taking in some very unsuccessful attempts at rockabilly, until the more smooth Nashville sound emerged and Billy hit the big time with "Charlie's Shoes". "Funny How Time Slipped Away" by a struggling songwriter called Willie Nelson and the title track. Billy's biggest ever hit had him trying to emulate Marty Robbins for a time in western gunfighter mode. Oddly enough for someone who is today one of the most evangelistic and articulate exponents of Christian country music, there are no gospel tracks here! 'Cross The Brazos At Waco' is not cheap either, selling for just over 100 though you do get a superb booklet. Overall though, it has to be said I have heard several better box sets, as there are a fair number of only average recordings here.

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