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John Anderson Reissues


11/29/07
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(PR) John Anderson, widely credited as a pioneer of country's "neo-traditionalism" movement in the '80s, has recorded for several labels. But his albums at Warner Bros. Records in the '80s comprise his biggest hits and most influential work. The music of Anderson and his ilk rescued country from a scene dominated by the "urban cowboy" scare of the late '70s, by providing a needed dose of honky-tonk inspired by the likes of Merle Haggard.

On January 8, 2008, Collectors' Choice Music will reissue five of Anderson's Warner Bros. albums, re-mastered and featuring liner notes by Grammy Award-winning writer Colin Escott. The albums are I Just Came Home to Count the Memories; All the People Are Talkin'; Eye of a Hurricane; Tokyo, Oklahoma; and Countrified.

"He sings with a voice that America hears in his imagination," wrote Bob Doerschuk in CMA Closeup. "It's rough and untamed. It can sound like it's ready for a fight or aching for some love. It can raise hell in a honky tonk or rise toward heaven on Sunday morning."

I Just Came Home To Count the Memories: Anderson's 1982 Warner Bros. debut album featured the No. 7 title track hit (previously a hit for both Bobby Wright and Cal Smith) as well as the Bobby Braddock-penned Top 10 hit "Would You Catch a Falling Star." Producer was Frank Jones (previously the assistant to Don Law, who worked with artists ranging from Robert Johnson to Johnny Cash.) The album also contains co-writes with Delmore Brothers member Lionel Delmore, who went on to collaborate with Anderson for years to come, and a song by Cajun star Jo-El Sonnier, "One of Those Things (We All Go Through)".

All the People Are Talkin': This album, co-produced by Anderson and Lou Bradley, contained a couple of notable nuggets: "Haunted House," the Johnny Fuller tune made famous by Gene Simmons (not the Kiss member but rather the sometime singer with Bill Black's Combo) appears here, as does "Occasional Eagle," penned by Fred Carter, who'd come out of the Mississippi rockabilly scene to become a Nashville A-team guitarist). The album's first single, "Black Sheep," hit No. 1, and the follow-up, "Let Somebody Else Drive," written by Merle Kilgore and Mack Vickery (and adopted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving), charted No. 9. Anderson's sister, Donna Kay, sang backup on the album.

Eye of a Hurricane: Anderson's 1984 release, which notched No. 3 on the country album chart, unleashed three smash singles: "She Sure Got Away," "I Wish I Could Write You a Song" (a Lionel Delmore co-write) and the title track, "Eve of a Hurricane" (written by Jerry Fuller, best known for Rick Nelson and the Union Gap). Other songs include "Red Georgia Clay" (written by Hal Bynum) and "Take That Woman Away" (Paul Kennerley, best known for his songs for Emmylou Harris and Marty Stuart).

Tokyo, Oklahoma: Anderson rocked out on Tokyo, Oklahoma, leading off with his version of the Bobby Womack-turned-Rolling Stones song "It's All Over Now" (Anderson used to play in a Florida band that idolized the Stones called the Living End) By now (1985), other "neo-traditionalists" (Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Randy Travis) had appeared on the scene, but Anderson stood up to the new competition, with the album charting at No. 12. The title track was written by Mack Vickery, a buddy of Jerry Lee Lewis'. And the third single, "Down in Tennessee," was written by Wayland Holyfield and became a hit for Mark Chesnutt a decade later. The album also contained neo-rockabilly songs "I've Got Me a Woman" and "Willie's Gone."

Countrified: This was Anderson's final album for Warner Bros. (home of 26 singles from these five LPs) before he left for MCA, BNA and finally home (sort of) to the Raybaw imprint of Warner Bros. Anderson used the Nashville A players on some tracks, his road band on others. "Honky Tonk Crowd" (written by Anderson and Delmore) became his first Top 10 hit in three years, and the album contains songs by Merle Haggard, Bo Diddley and Tony Joe White. It also featured the spiritual "Peace in the Valley," first recorded by Rev. Thomas Dorsey and a 1951 hit for Red Foley. The Ken McDuffie composition "Yellow Creek," reflects on the white man's treatment of Native Americans.

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