14 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The notoriously ornery Charlie Feathers was coaxed out of retirement for this 1982 session, which turned out to be one of the best recordings of the latter half of his career. Unlike many of his peers, Feathers never lost his taste or his touch. When guys like Jerry Lee Lewis started making records that sounded strained and synthetic, Feathers could still slip into a brand of swing that was wholly understated and naturalistic. His light-crust shuffle is displayed on “We’re Getting Closer to Being Apart,” “If You Were Mine to Lose,” and a cover of Johnny Horton’s “Honky Tonk Man” that's remarkably similar to the one that would give Dwight Yoakam a huge hit a few years later. As much joy as there is in hearing Feathers effortlessly return to the rockabilly style he pioneered in the '50s, it’s even better to hear him experiment with new sounds and rhythms. Check out the J.J. Cale–esque rendition of Leadbelly’s “In the Pines” or the tense, humid strut of “Jungle Fever.” That song has Feathers using his voice to the full extent of its powers, spitting and sputtering and making noises that pop out of the recording like sounds from a nighttime swamp.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The notoriously ornery Charlie Feathers was coaxed out of retirement for this 1982 session, which turned out to be one of the best recordings of the latter half of his career. Unlike many of his peers, Feathers never lost his taste or his touch. When guys like Jerry Lee Lewis started making records that sounded strained and synthetic, Feathers could still slip into a brand of swing that was wholly understated and naturalistic. His light-crust shuffle is displayed on “We’re Getting Closer to Being Apart,” “If You Were Mine to Lose,” and a cover of Johnny Horton’s “Honky Tonk Man” that's remarkably similar to the one that would give Dwight Yoakam a huge hit a few years later. As much joy as there is in hearing Feathers effortlessly return to the rockabilly style he pioneered in the '50s, it’s even better to hear him experiment with new sounds and rhythms. Check out the J.J. Cale–esque rendition of Leadbelly’s “In the Pines” or the tense, humid strut of “Jungle Fever.” That song has Feathers using his voice to the full extent of its powers, spitting and sputtering and making noises that pop out of the recording like sounds from a nighttime swamp.

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