Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Not Fade Away - Reissue Review from Issue #32 March-April 2001

Johnny Bond

Country And Western: Standard Transcriptions (Bloodshot Revival / Soundies)

Fame is a fickle mistress, and Johnny Bond’s career in country music is evidence of just how much that is true. Bond was an amazingly versatile talent, as many performers of his age had to be. He was a singer-songwriter, comedian, film sidekick, session player (listen to a Gene Autry record and you’ll hear Bond’s guitar skills), radio bandleader, and TV host. He was also a music publisher, scriptwriter, biographer (of Tex Ritter) and autobiographer.

Yet these days, Bond is perhaps best remembered for a couple of novelty tunes — a cover of “Hot Rod Lincoln” that became a crossover smash in 1963, and his own “Ten Little Bottles”, a drinking song originally cut in 1951, which became his biggest hit ever in 1964.

Country And Western doesn’t attempt to cover all the territory in Bond’s wide-ranging career, but concentrates solely on recordings he made for radio in the mid-1940s. Among the 31 tracks are many originals, including the hillbilly boogie “Out On The Open Range”, the proto-honky-tonk “Tomorrow Never Comes”, and the dreamy cowboy serenade “Stars Of The Midnight Range”.

To fit the demands of radio programming, the transcriptions also featured a fair number of traditional numbers, including “Goodbye Old Paint”, “Birmingham Jail” and “Red River Valley”. Bond also tried out some then-current chart numbers, ranging from Perry Como’s pop hit “Have I Stayed Away Too Long” to Woody Guthrie’s “Oklahoma Hills” (at the time a hit for Guthrie’s cousin Jack). The results are never less than pleasing.

Bond’s carefully phrased baritone vocals stand on their own just fine, but when he’s joined by longtime cohorts Jimmy Wakely and Dick Reinhart, the effect of their entwined voices is often sublime. Country And Western isn’t an essential collection of Bond’s material; even at this late date, such a set has yet to emerge. Still, it’s a valuable (and at 31 cuts, generous) snapshot of a fine and sometimes overlooked figure in country music history.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #32 March-April 2001

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter