Born, Raised and Live from Flint
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s
Bar-band boogie Deluxe.
I’d not heard of Whitey Morgan (aka Eric Allen) before receiving this package, but the sweat drenched, hirsute figure on the cover intrigued me; so it got a play ahead of several more established artistes.
While not every concert has an MC introducing the act; opening track Buick City begins quite abruptly; as if someone was late in pressing the ‘start button.’ The song is quite a toe tapper in the style of Waylon or Dale Watson but the gap between this and the second song, starts a trend of editing by ‘knife and fork’ which is a shame as Whitey sounds quite a character when his chit-chat is eventually included later on. The Big Man has a slightly rough around the edges voice and the band are as sharp as broken glass with a mighty fine mix of steel-guitar, honkytonk piano, harmonica and more than a few nifty, short and sharp guitar solos which work just fine for me.
This second song; Johnny Paycheck’s Cocaine Train is sang with feeling and has a mighty fine piano break in the middle that could be Jerry Lee in his younger fiery days and the theme of the song sounds popular with the audience; so I guess Whitey knows his audiences likes and dislikes.
Whitey throws in a couple of curve balls, when he covers Springsteen’s I’m On Fire (nothing special) and Dale Watson’s song about an incident involving Billy Joe Shaver – Where Do You Want It? which has had me checking out their original version.
It’s no surprise that drinking and cheating women form the basis of most songs; with Turn Up The Bottle, the ironically titled I Ain’t Drunk and my favourite Whitey’s self-penned Honky Tonk Queen standing head and shoulders above the rest, which are generally Bar Band Country Music by numbers.
Even with the annoyingly basic editing between songs I’ve really enjoyed this album and if I had the chance would travel to see Whitey Morgan and the 78’s play live; but I’m not sure this album does them enough justice.