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Nat Stuckey

Pop A Top – 1998 (AMS/Music Row Talent)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Nat Stuckey

The last few years have seen a rise in interest in '60's and '70's country stars who have fallen into obscurity. New work by many of these artists is appearing on small labels even as most of their actual hits remain unavailable. In the case of Nat Stuckey, who died in 1988, it's some unreleased demos along with some of his last singles.

Stuckey never had a burst of popularity like Mack did, but he sustained his career and was more successful in the long run. He didn't even have the hit record on his most famous composition, which kicks off this album. The glory for "Pop A Top" went to Jim Ed Brown, and it has now become a honky-tonk standard. Stuckey also cowrote the Buck Owens hit "Waitin' In Your Welfare Line," but he doesn't sing that here. This album, put out by Stuckey's widow Ann, sounds remarkably like early Waylon Jennings, mostly the smoother pre-outlaw days. "Rose Ellen" sounds quite a bit like "Amanda." The grittiest cut by far is "The Rebel," something outlaw Waylon could have sunk his teeth into. As with Warner Mack, the overall sound smacks of the '70's, although in this case that's when much of it was actually recorded. (Available $15 CD, $9 cassette from Music Row Talent Records, PO Box 19358, Shreveport, LA 71129 lakesongs@msn.com)