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.
RADIO LOVER Mick Flavin
WiNO the CLOWN MICK FLAVIN