For artists I know, I typically don’t go in for “Greatest Hits” records. I always feel like I’m missing something… if I know an album well, I expect the songs to come out of the speakers in a certain order. If I know and album really well I expect the pops, crackles and scratches in my less that pristine collection to be there, dang it!
For artists I am less familiar with, I might pick up a Greatest Hits compilation to see if I really want to explore someone’s back catalog. This is the case with my copy of Johnny Horton – The World Of Johnny Horton.
I snagged this double album gate-fold at last year’s Spokane Public Radio’s annual record sale fund raiser. I was as familiar with Johnny Horton because of his famous “Saga Songs”, one of which was the impetus for today’s entry… this is the 100th anniversary of the end of the Battle of New Orleans, the inspiration for Horton’s second #1 hit.
In my recollection, Johnny Horton was a schoolteacher who created these songs with an historical context in order to hammer certain dates and facts into the heads of his history students. Maybe I just wished that’d been true for my school years but nothing could be further from the truth!
Thanks to Wikepedia, I’ve now learned more about Johnny Horton than I ever expected to… he spent some time at college in Seattle, he married Hank Williams’ ex-wife, he really did go “North to Alaska” in search of gold!
Anyway, Johnny Horton – The World Of Johnny Horton starts off with my goal for the day, The Battle Of New Orleans and continues through every saga song I could remember (and some I’d forgotten all about). I can’t really call this a “Greatest Hits” record, because it excludes his biggest, non-saga, song I’m a One-Woman Man and his posthumous hit Sleepy-Eyed John. Even so, this is one compilation that is staying in my collection.
Here’s the song they left off the record: