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Ernest Tubb Live 1965
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Ernest Tubb Live at the Spanish Castle 1965
Free Times
         If your idea of a "Live" album is the latest Garth Brooks release, hold on to your ten-gallon hats. This landmark 1965 recording captures Ernest Tubb, king of Texas honky tonk country music, still at his prime 25 years into his career. It is "live" in the best sense of the word--spontaneous and unforced, immediate and highly entertaining.

    This is the version of the Texas Troubadours that included Leon Rhodes, Jack Drake, Buddy Charlton, Jack Greene, and Cal Smith. The latter two members of the band were soon to become major country stars on their own, and are heard here taking lead vocals on songs they would have huge hits with in the near future. Cal Smith sings on "I Couldn't Care Less" and "Lonesome 7-7203," and Jack Greene takes over on "Born To Lose," Last Letter," and,"I Wash My Hands in Muddy Water."  The other notable cameo role here is one from the album's producer, drummer Jan Kurtis. A member of the Texas Troubadours himself from 1959 to 1963, Kurtis also drummed for Bobby Goldsboro and Ray Price.  Here, he is asked on stage by Tubb for a song, and turns in what may be the first extended drum solo recorded in a country music show on the jazzy number "Hold It."
    It is a strong, varied night of classic country music that is all the more special thirty-plus years down the road, now that artists like Ernest Tubb are much fewer and further between.

    
    Billboard, Nashville Scene
       The real E.T.: Thirty-three years in country music's history may as well be a hundred     years - such is the lost world evoked by a recording of Ernest Tubb's live 1965 show.
    Tubb's road show was the prototypical honky-tonk package, playing every night for your listening and dancing pleasure, as he says, till 1:30 in the morning, when the band would     pack up the bus and head for the next nightclub.  When this show was recorded, he had an all-star band featuring Jack Greene, Cal Smith, Jack Drake, Buddy Charlton, guitarist Leon Rhodes - as in, "Take it away Leon" - and the "singing bus driver," Johnny Wiggins.
    Tubb's Texas Troubadours were one of the first touring country bands to add electric guitar (so the band could be heard above the honky-tonks' raucous din) and to use drums (for the same reason).  This historic recording captures one of the first country drum solos and what, incidentally, may also have been one of the last.
    This set was recorded at the Spanish Castle in Seattle by that drummer, Jan Kurtis, a Troubadour alumnus who left his tape recorder on long enough to nail the solo on the song "Hold It,"  Kurtis also provides liner notes.
    The album is not only a valuable snapshot of what country music was like on the road at the height of the honky-tonk era, it's also some very enjoyable music.

    The New York Times
     Those who want to hear how Tubb turned a concert into a gathering of kinfolk visiting a favorite uncle must start with “Live, 1965.”

    Newsweek
    “Ernest Tubb did 40 years of one-nighters like the one at Seattle’s Spanish Castle Ballroom in September 1965.  What made that show different from any other is that it was recorded, and     on good equipment. Which makes “Ernest Tubb: Live 1965” both a precious document and a sad artifact. His two “live” albums were just studio cuts with dubbed applause; this is the only known high-fidelity recording of E.T. doing what he lived to do.”

    Country Song Roundup
     The power and quality of the performance surprises no one who has had the pleasure of hearing Ernest Tubb in person. What is absolutely astonishing about this recording is its lifelike, noise-free stereophonic clarity. Despite the age of the original master tape, the listener has the impression of being in a front-row seat at a show in which Tubb was obviously having the time of his life.

    People Magazine
     Bottom Line: Honky-tonk heaven


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