In my last post, I mentioned about the easy-availability of Johnny Horton’s album, “Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits”. In fact, that was the only Johnny Horton’s title that I have collected since 2006. I thought he is only known for several battle ballads but not the rest.
On one Sunday at end October 2012, I went to the usual Sunday market to hunt for LPs. As soon I reached there, I headed straight to my favourite store and started flipping through the albums. I was so pleasantly surprised to find a Johnny Horton’s LP of the title, “Johnny Horton Makes History”. Wow, I thought I wouldn’t have any chance of getting another Johnny Horton’s album since I bought “Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits” in 2006! The cover and the vinyl were also in extremely good conditions. My surprise didn’t end there because when I flipped through the stack of records further, another Johnny Horton’s album, “The Fantastic Johnny Horton”, appeared in front of my very own eyes. There weren’t any scratches on the vinyl surfaces of both albums and the covers were as good as new. I think the previous owner must be a meticulous LP collector. Anyway, that made my day!
On that particular day, I decided to cut short the visit and head straight home after I paid the vendor. I was so eager to listen to several other Johnny Horton’s songs that I have never heard of. The catches have made my day!
While driving back home, I was humming “North to Alaska” all the way.
Back to the 2 albums that I bought, the songs in “Johnny Horton Makes History” are quite similar to “Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits. “The Fantastic Johnny Horton” contains mostly Johnny Horton’s early recordings between 1952 and 1955. This was the period when Johnny Horton’s narrative ballads of American history still hadn’t make inroad into his music.
I noticed that Johnny Horton singing style is somewhat influenced by Hank Williams. “Two Red Lips and a Warm Red Wine” is like a song written by Hank Williams. But then, “Broken Hearted Gypsy”, “SS Lureline” and “All for the Love of a Girl” are so uniquely Johnny Horton. And these are the songs that I enjoyed listening very much.
This album was released in 1959.
Side A – Broken Hearted Gypsy, First Train Headin’ South, Move Down the Line, The SS Lureline, The Child’s Side of Life, All For the Love of a Girl
Side B – The Mansion You Stole, The Train with a Rhumba Beat, Two Red Lips and a Warm Red Wine, Ridin’ the Sunshine Special, Big Wheels Rolling, Devil Made a Masterpiece