Howdy Glenn – I Can Almost See Houston
This is refreshing. I thought it was a blues CD or a novelty country performance since Morris “Howdy” Glenn appears as a spangled performer ala entertainer on the cover. Not true. What I hear is a pristine performance. He drives a polished Charlie Pride style with country soul that’s captivating & Howdy is natural.
California’s Howdy Glenn has many of the traditions rooted in the likes of George Jones & also a tinge of Merle Haggard & Waylon Jennings in his vocal timbre. All obvious on “Old Dogs, Children & Watermelon Wine.” Nice.
This isn’t a new collection. It’s a late 70s reissue done with care. The compilation was produced by Scott B. Bomar & Cheryl Pawelski & restored to pristine sound on this new 78-minute I Can Almost See Houston (Drops Jan 20–Omnivore) that has 23 cuts on a single CD with insert included.
“I’m Here To Drink It All,” is not a novelty tune. It’s a clever country song. “Where Did the Years Go,” finds Howdy tapping into the old-style pop-country of 60s Bobby Goldsboro (“Honey”) & a touch of O.C. Smith’s “The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp.” Well recorded, arranged & showcased.
The cut “Has Been Honky Tonk Queen,” is poised in a Haggard-Jennings style. Not enough suggest an imitation though. Glenn has style. A warm exceptional country voice & each individual track was originally produced by different producers. His sound quality is consistent & the songs sound like they were written for him. These are superior country tunes.
“Who Makes a Wino’s Bed,” has a strong powerful vocal. Haggard’s “White Line Fever,” the classic Jimmie Rodgers tune “Mule Skinner Blues,” & some previously unissued tunes – all glorious. It never sags, it’s just full of enthusiasm.
Howdy charted for 6 weeks & was nominated for awards like Top New Country Vocalist. The original recordings (with choruses & superb musicians) were captured exceptionally. But I don’t think many country fans know Howdy even today. This is sad since he’s a wonderful artist. Prior to his career, he was a fireman & went back to it when all that promise fizzled. This is a Hallmark Movie.
He was an impeccable country stylist & should be given a second look. He could sing with anyone in country music – past or present. “That Lucky Old Sun,” is penetrating. Soulful & powerful. I’m not a big country fan – but this guy is good. I wonder if he fell through the cracks like Boxcar Willie, another excellent but never taken seriously-singer. If he fell off because he was Black it’s shameful. Especially at this level of talent.
Highlights: “I Can Almost See Houston,” “Old Dogs, Children & Watermelon Wine,” “Who Makes a Wino’s Bed,” “I’m Here To Drink It All,” “Where Did the Years Go,” “Has Been Honky Tonk Queen,” “White Line Fever,” “That Lucky Old Sun,” & “You Mean the World To Me,” among a few others.
CD @ Target & Discogs + http://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/i-can-almost-see-houston-complete/