fb-pixel Skip to main content

A follow-up to 2012’s “Country Funk 1969-1975,” this second anthology from Light in the Attic Records captures a seemingly disparate collision of cultures: country heartache and twang and the grit and swagger of funk and soul. There are all sorts of jaw-dropping moments, starting with Billy Swan’s otherworldly take on Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel.” Townes Van Zandt gets groovy and psychedelic on “Hunger Child Blues,” Willie Nelson sings about how “Shotgun Willie sits around in his underwear,” and Jackie DeShannon detours to Muscle Shoals on “The Weight.” The album also shows that superstars such as Dolly Parton, Bobby Darin, and Kenny Rogers had past lives as roadhouse raconteurs. Parton shreds her sparrow-like voice on the hard-hitting “Gettin’ Happy,” and Darin is a long way from “Mack the Knife,” nearly getting busted by the cops for selling hash on “Me and Mr. Hohner.” And Rogers is downright smokin’ on “Tulsa Turnaround” (credited to Kenny Rogers & the First Edition), at one point bragging, “If a man’s gonna eat fried chicken/ He’s gotta get greasy.” Finger-lickin’ good. (Out now) JAMES REED

ESSENTIAL “Tulsa Turnaround”