Johnny Bush

Green Snakes – 2002 (Texas Music Group)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

If a common thread can be found on Johnny Bush's latest, it would be the honky-tonk numbers that bring a crowd out onto a Texas dance floor just about every time. As a result, Bush eschews original material this time out in favor of classic two-steppers like Jerry Irby's "Driving Nails (In My Coffin)," as well as excursions into Tex-Mex ("Dos Tacos"), balladry (George Strait's 1993 hit "When Did You Stop Loving Me"), Texas shuffles (Ray Price's "I Wish That I Could Fall In Love Today") and even a rare foray into rockabilly with a cover of Moon Mullican's "Pipeliner Blues." Also noteworthy is the title track, a remake of a minor 1972 hit for Bush that has become something of a cult favorite among the college crowd over the intervening years.

Included is a bonus nine-song CD of demos cut in 1962 by Bush, Willie Nelson and steel guitarist Tommy Morrel. Although Bush still had several dues-paying years as a backing musician ahead of him and his vibrato isn't as prominent as it would be just a few short years later, most of the elements that would make him a star were in place even at this early date.