Billy Joe Shaver - Salt Of The Earth
HomeNewsInterviewsCD ReleasesCD ReviewsConcertsArtistsArchive

Salt Of The Earth (Lucky Dog/Sony, 2000)

Billy Joe Shaver

Reviewed by Dan Williams

Billy Joe Shaver's pre-"Tramp On Your Street" albums are hard to come by, so any documents of his scattered recording career are always welcome. This straight-reissue of a 1987 Columbia album ranks among his best.

Regular visitors to the world of The World's Most Gracious Texan will find much familiar turf. There is the sturm-and-twang of "Sweet Mama" and "Good News Blues" and a pair of loose-limbed workin'-for-the-man anthems in "Manual Labor" and "Hardworkin' Man." "You Just Can't Beat Jesus Christ" manages the neat trick of affirming his spiritual beliefs without seeming didactic or preachy (It doesn't hurt that it swings.) And, as always, there is one keeper ballad - the elegaic "Fun While It Lasted."

Shaver's voice, while not the burnished gem that it would become, is resonant and playful throughout. And the many serrated guitar runs that pepper these songs most likely belong to a young Eddy Shaver.

"Salt" was originally rejected by MCA and released on another label at about the time that records like "Guitar Town" and "Storms Of Life" were changing the face of modern country. Little-heard in its day, it is of a piece on par with the work on those albums and of the young Mr.Yoakam, and that is high praise indeed.

CDs by Billy Joe Shaver

Long in the Tooth, 2014 Live at Billy Bob's Texas, 2012 Everybody's Brother, 2007 Greatest Hits, 2007 The Real Deal, 2005

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
AboutCopyrightNewsletterOur sister publication Standard Time
Subscribe to Country Music News Country News   Subscribe to Country Music CD Reviews CD Reviews   Follow us on Twitter  Instagram  Facebook  YouTube