Various Artists – Audium/Koch, Caught in the Webb: A Tribute to the Legendary Webb Pierce

Kurt Wolff

By Kurt Wolff

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

During the '50s, the honky-tonker who racked up the most number-one hits was not Hank Williams or Lefty Frizzell, but a Louisiana boy named Webb Pierce. His tenor voice may have been sharp, raw and distinctly nasal in tone, but recordings of hits like "Wondering," "Tupelo County Jail," "Walking the Dog" and "Slowly" (the first major Nashville record to use pedal steel) remain powerful nuggets of pure, honest country. Gail Davies produced this substantial, 21-song tribute to Pierce, and she did an impressive job bringing together a multifaceted roster &#8212 classic artists (George Jones, Charley Pride) and alt-country favorites (Dale Watson, Guy Clark) alike. Emmylou Harris nails the delicate "Wondering"; Billy Walker sounds as smooth on "I Don't Care" as he did four decades ago; Robbie Fulks and Joy Lynn White bounce through "Tupelo County Jail"; and the underrated Pam Tillis brightens "No Love Have I" (written by her father Mel) with her smart, shiny voice. Webb, who died in 1991, would've been proud.