Monday, April 29, 2013


When Curly Putman writes 'em sad…and when George Jones sings 'em spooky and gruesome…that's usually it. Nobody else touches 'em or even tries.

An exception is the Irish country singer Mick Flavin, the only guy who has covered BOTH "Wino the Clown" and "Radio Lover," a pair of O.Henry-type numbers from the pen of Mr. Putman.

Call it a tribute to Curly, more than an attempt to get the better of George. George, by the way, could've had a second career as a spoken arts narrator. As great as his singing is, he had an eerie way with those spoken passages that some C&W tunes required!

"Wino the Clown" in the Jones version is tenderly from the heart, ripe with pathos, as few knew the pains of alcoholism any better or worse than he did. George's take on "Radio Lover" has that grim possum grin about it. You get the idea that George relishes the dark, dark tragedy and revenge of the tale, and can't wait to get to the punchline.

The Flavin versions are nice covers. "Wino," with the appropriate squeamy violin, is dry-eyed but touching. "Radio Lover"becomes more of a gruesome news item than a campfire horror story.

Mick's humble beginnings in a farmhouse in Ballinamuk in the late 50's included playing Tex Ritter and Hank Williams singles on his record player. He got a guitar from a local music store in Longford, and while working as a carpenter, began to play in local bands. In 1978 he managed to tour with some dates in America, and soon had his first record deal in Ireland. He's recorded over a dozen albums of country music, and anyone with the talent and taste to choose the works of Curly Putman is well worth anyone's attention. The two sample songs are on "As Good As I Once Was," his "best of" 2 CD set.



1 comment:

Duncanmusic said...

Just a note to thank you for everything you do, digging out these incredible treasures of obscurity and taking the time to write heartfelt words on each. I commend your depth of knowledge (which is deeper than mine which I will unabashedly say, is hard to find. I have just been catching up on your blog which I subscribe to and find myself rediscovering with pleasure tonight. Though I am writing on this entry I have been backtracking from 6/29/13 back to April and will not stop until I've covered and downloaded all the posts I've missed...and I must say I am downloading every one and READING them all, too. Believe me I don't do that with every one of the 200+ blogs I monitor. Thanks again.