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Whitey Morgan and the 78's

Whitey Morgan and the 78's – 2010 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Whitey Morgan and the 78's

It doesn't take much listening to the sophomore effort from Whitey Morgan (the nom de twang of Eric David Allen) and the 78's before you start to get a sense of what they're about. Morgan and his band definitely have acquired their musical DNA from the outlaw country era, as the killer boom-chick Waylon sound of lead-off track Bad News, the Bocephus-like Hard Scratch Pride and the shades-of-David Allen Coe Long Road Home attest.

But the strongest family resemblance isn't to any of those outlaw examplars, but to Johnny Paycheck - and not only to fashionable '60s Paycheck, but to the artist who spent the '70s at Epic Records recording the likes of She's All I Got, 11 Months and 29 Days, and (of course) Take This Job and Shove It with Billy Sherrill. Morgan's cover of Paycheck's Meanest Jukebox In Town nails the singer's Little Darlin' sound, but his own Turn Up the Bottle positively sounds like an outtake from Paycheck's Epic days, from the vibe of the song to the lyrical content, to, especially, the sound of Morgan's voice, and Honky Tonk Queen and Turn Up the Bottle aren't far behind on all counts.

Morgan and company have got the songs and the chops to make this more than some watery homage; to cop an appropriate phrase from a recent Paycheck comp, this is country music with soul and edge.