Of all the performers from the golden era of country & western music -- the early 1950s until 1969 -- among the most stubborn about his honky tonk sound had to be Webb Pierce. In the '50s alone, Pierce racked up 40 Top Ten singles, among them 13 number ones. He continued to chart well into the '60s even as the countrypolitain sound overwhelmed hardcore honky tonk. Thanks to Hux, we get a pair of Pierce classics from the early '60s on a single disc, Fallen Angel and Cross Country. The first of these albums from 1961 boasted the Top Five title track, "Let Forgiveness In" -- a self-penned cut that charted in the Top Ten -- the hardcore shuffle "Truck Driver's Blues," and a fine version of the classic Jamie Rodgers' tune "My Rough and Rowdy Ways." Hux was also kind enough to include the bonus cut "Drifting Texas Sand," which appeared in place of "Last Night" on some pressings of the record. The former cut was chosen by Bob Dylan for Best of the Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Hour compilation. Cross Country boasted a double A-side hit in the shimmying "Take Time," that borrowed plenty from early vocal group rock & roll, and the strolling, pedal steel-whining honky tonker "Crazy Wild Desire." Speaking of honky tonk, the opening track on Cross Country is an excellent version of Harlan Howard's "Heartaches by the Number." The sound here is as crisp and clean as can be, there is an historic liner essay by Jon Philibert, and complete lyrics. For Pierce fans, this is a treasure trove of music that's been out of print for decades. ~THom Jurek
Uncut (magazine) (p.93) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hese two albums catch him in fine voice -- nasal and abrasive -- as he essays such classics as 'Crazy Wild Desire' and the tearstained 'Fallen Angel'..."