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Pee Wee King

Pee Wee King's Country Hoedown – 1999 (Bloodshot Revival/Soundies)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Pee Wee King

This is the fourth in the Revival series of radio transcriptions issued jointly by the Bloodshot and Soundies labels, and they're still batting a thousand with the double-disc release of 51 songs and two hours of music.

In a way, "Country Hoedown" is a misnomer. There's an impressive variety of music here: western stuff, country, polkas and fiddle songs, swing, and goofy novelty tunes. But what dominates is a pop sound; in the words of the grandaddy of country music scholarship, Bill Malone (who provides liner notes), "we hear a body of music that anticipated the country-pop sounds of the late fifties and early sixties" (songs like "Hog Wild Too," complete with pig-snorting sounds, keep things from getting too urbane, however). That sound is due in no small part to the smooth-as-churned-butter vocals of King's long-time singer Redd Stewart, which are front-and-center throughout; as well, Stewart contributes via the songwriting front as a frequent writing partner with King, who wrote or co-wrote most of the songs included.

The release of this album rectifies the existing paucity of available material from King, and it's also a rewarding collection in its own right.