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Walter Hyatt

Some Unfinished Business, Volume One – 2008 (King Tears)

Reviewed by Dave Bagdade

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CDs by Walter Hyatt

The late Walter Hyatt is a celebrated figure in Texas music circles. During the 1970s, he teamed with David Ball and Champ Hood in Uncle Walt's Band, cited as an influence by Lyle Lovett and Joe Ely, among many others. Lovett in particular has recorded several Hyatt songs and produced a Hyatt solo recording.

At the time of Hyatt's death in a 1996 plane crash, he was demoing songs for what would have been only his third solo recording. The unfinished tracks languished for more than a decade before being completed in a collaboration between Hyatt's widow and producer Michael Killeen.

Posthumous releases of dead artists' material often cause fear and trepidation. No worries on that score, though. Hyatt was in fine form vocally and had a strong group of songs, particularly "Sheik of ShBoom" and "Foolin' Round." The record has a relaxed groove, which Killeen preserved, although there is an overabundance of strings in places. There are many high-profile guests, including the Jordanaires, Jerry Douglas and Champ Hood's son Warren, but the focus is always on Hyatt's affable vocals. This is a recording worth seeking out, and if the title is to be believed, there will be more.