Spectacular Is A Stretch

Okay, settle down. This isn't really the "spectacular" Johnny Horton. That was the 1950s version — the one who recorded "Honky-Tonk Man" (RealAudio excerpt) (later revived by Dwight Yoakam) and married the widow of Hank Williams, his idol.

What we have here is merely the "very entertaining" Johnny Horton of 1960, the one responsible for the hits "The Battle of New Orleans" (RealAudio excerpt), "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's 40 Below)" (both included here) and "North to Alaska." The latter was released just one week before the singer died in a car accident.

When he wasn't busy penning banjo-propelled hits, Horton tried to inject some life into the dying art of rockabilly, most successfully on the chugging "The Golden Rocket" and "Cherokee Boogie," which matches Hank's "Kaw-Liga" with the original, teen-bopping Rock-a-Teens ("Woo Hoo").

Sadly, though, Horton is thwarted at almost every turn by an idiotic female chorus. "Lost Highway" (RealAudio excerpt), the ominous lament once recorded by Williams, loses big as a result.