Lil' G.L. Presents: Jukebox Charley - Charley Crockett Track-By-Track
Country Cover Tunes for Lonely Honky Tonk Cowboys
Lil G.L. Presents: Jukebox Charley by Charley Crockett (2022)
From busking to selling out large tours, the America that Charley Crockett sings about is entirely timeless with the patina of a 70s action flick.
His voice carries on the country tradition of Cash and Nelson, mixed with Townes Van Zandt and Dylan for narrative journeys combined with a flair for stylistic production. With flourishes of steel guitar and full orchestration, these covers of Johnny Paycheck, Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall, and more are found on this honky tonk covers record, Lil G.L. Presents: Jukebox Charley. The 38-year-old Charley Crockett has elevated country music by paying tribute to his biggest influences.
Let’s take this one track by track with the originals to compare. Except for one. Of course, the internet doesn’t have one of the original songs!
1 ) Make Way For a Better Man - This Cy Coben track, made popular by Willie Nelson is a hands-down classic track and the perfect way to kick off the record. The brutality of stealing your best friend’s girl unapologetically rings true in 2022 as it did in 1967 for Willie.
2 ) I Feel For You - While covering Jerry Reed’s I Feel For You, Crockett dishes it out in a very honest way, empathizing with another man about his girl’s fickle ways.
3 ) Lonely In Person - Charley slows this one down half a calf’s hair. Tom T. Hall’s Lonely In Person, penned by Buddy Meredith, laments as the singer feels lonesomeness on the stage in front of jukebox neon and his own footlights.
4 ) Diamond Joe - Charley’s version lends a lot to Dylan’s take on this traditional song tempo and vibe-wise, but carries the story along in a way only Charley can. Oh, and “His bread it was corn dodger” just means hushpuppy cornmeal cakes.
If you want to take it to the rodeo, check out this bluegrass-infused recent version by Thirty Tigers cohort, Colter Wall.
5 ) Where Have All The Honest People Gone - Before realizing this was a cover album, I was whistling along to the intro and thinking “Wow, this is a great Roger Miller song”. Because it was. The twists and turns, King of The Road-style outcast story has been given a modern arrangement that tells the story of a busker that now sells out theatres. Miller’s version has a more melancholy title and chorus, Where Have All The Average People Gone. “
And the government has given me a number
To simplify my birth and life and death
And still my woman thinks I'm awful important
Like the moon and the sun
and the sea and the sky and breath
6 ) Home Motel - With background singers, and strings, one envisions Charley lighting up a smoke in a legendary vocal booth from the Golden Age of crooning superstars like Frank Sinatra for this larger-than-life track. In contrast to Willie’s minimalist approach with steel guitar and piano, the Jukebox Charley version is the soundtrack to your next home slow dance.
7 ) Jukebox Charley - The title track is from Johnny Paycheck’s 1967 album Jukebox Charlie (And Other Songs That Make The Jukebox Play). This one is pretty straightforward with more of a whiskey lean to the vocals to contrast Paycheck’s “Shove It” attitude.
8 ) I Hope It Rains at My Funeral - Another great Tom T. Hall classic. No matter who is singing this one, the story is better than most novels or movies:
I hit town or you might say that it hit me
Next mornin' there were things
I knew more about
The woman who had taken me in said, "Country boy, you're all right"
The same way, I turned her on
she turned me out
9 ) Heartbreak Affair - Trying to recreate the awkward phrasing and vibrato production on the original Heartbreak Affair by Porter Wagoner is a successful experiment in retro-sounding recordings. But this one might get skipped on multiple listens.
10 ) Battle With The Bottle - The alcoholic’s romance about putting the plug in the jug! Louisiana’s Larry Brasso’s track is given new life by Lil’ G.L. with the anxiety of the original track in full bloom.
It's the battle with the bottle again tonight
I know I'm in for a heck of a fight
I'm hiding my drinkin' glass out of sight
Another battle with the bottle again tonight
11 ) Out of Control - The only one looking better in a pair of old lady polarized lenses than George Jones might be Charley Crockett. No one can sing this better than George Jones but Charley gets close with his own swagger and trills. “Rock the Jukebox, Charley! Let’s hear more Jones!”
12 ) Six Foot Under - This morbid song must have been in the producer’s dusty 7-inch collection from Bob Fryfogle’s 1964 rockabilly gem.
Through the old graveyard
I'm gonna walk around
And bury my heart
Where it won't be found
13 ) Same Old Situation - Having trouble finding this Wayne Kemp original! But this has serious 70s wide-collar energy on Jukebox Charley.
14 ) Between My House And Town - Another from the George Jones catalog to wrap up the album. More lonely teardrops from Lil’ G.L. here as he tells his lady about his new place… The sincerity of the original shines the spotlight on the narrator’s situation making way for her new man.
George takes it on the chin and is good-natured a bit with his vocal delivery, whereby Charley applies the message of this song to the character we have been seeing develop over these past couple of years.
And it's just on the outskirts of somewhere
The only traffic is downward bound
LP TRACKS AND WRITING CREDITS:
1. Make Way For A Better Man - Cy Coben
2. I Feel For You - Jerry Reed Hubbard
3. Lonely In Person - Tom T. Hall
4. Diamond Joe - Traditional
5. Where Have All The Honest People Gone - Dennis Linde
6. Home Motel - Willie Nelson
7. Jukebox Charley - Johnny Paycheck & Aubrey Mayhew
8. I Hope It Rains At My Funeral - Tom T. Hall
9. Heartbreak Affair - Kay Adams
10. Battle With The Bottle - Joe Avants Jr & John Koonse
11. Out Of Control - George Jones, Darrell Edwards & Herby Treece
12. Six Foot Under - Clint Lewis & James Hutchins
13. Same Old Situation - Wayne Kemp & Bill McDonald
14. Between My House And Town - Sanger D. Shafer
Wanna see something really cool? Get caught up here on Charley Crockett and his prolific pandemic recording sessions:
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