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Jamey Johnson – “Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochrane”

By • Jan 6th, 2013 • Category: CD Reviews

Review by Stratman

Jamey Johnson has produced one of his finest works to date with this Hank Cochrane Tribute album. It is full of “old school” country music from Hank Cochrane (who passed away in 2010 at age 74 and STILL is not in the Country Music Hall of Fame and I don’t  freakin’ understand THAT!). Hank co-wrote  “ I Fall To Pieces” for Patsy Cline, and , her other big hit “She’s Got You”. He also wrote the signature song for Eddy Arnold, “Make The World Go Away” and several songs that were recorded by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard among others.

Jamey became friends with Hank in the later years of his life and at that point, with permission from his wife, decided to record this tribute album. It is loaded with several country superstars providing duet help throughout the album.

The album opens with one of my all time favorites, “Make The World Go Away” and Jamey is joined by Allison Krauss who was one of Hanks favorite singers and she does a fabulous job on this track. I love the steel and lead guitars. “I Fall To Pieces” has a jazzy sort of feel to it. Once again, the steel and lead guitar is the standout instruments. Jamey is joined by Merle Haggard on this one. Not too sure that I like the vocal phrasing in places on this one

“A Way To Survive” brings Leon Russell in on this track. It is danceable, and I dig the fiddle at the beginning of the song. “Don’t Touch Me” is a classic “belly rubber”. Emmylou Harris adds her unique vocals to this track and she never sounded better!. “You Wouldn’t Know Love” features one of my all time favorite country voices, Ray Price, helping Jamey.

“I Don’t Do Windows” features Asleep At The Wheel and the band rips it up with a honky tonk piano. The next tune, “She’ll Be Back”, brings rocker Elvis Costello to help Jamey and the two seem to work really well together. “Would These Arms Be In Your Way” is the only non-duet on the CD and Jamey proves he doesn’t need a partner to make this tune a winner. The track features a very nice string section with it.

“The Eagle” is one of best tracks on the album and probably my favorite. George Strait is, well, GEORGE STRAIT! He adds so much to the song and I am glad this one was recorded. “A-11” is one of Hanks best songs and a great two stepper. Mr. Johnson and Ronnie Dunn do a great job here and Ronnie may have found himself a new duo partner in Jamey (just sayin’).

“I’d Fight The World” is one of those “grab your woman and get on the dance floor songs”. Watch out… the BARE is loose (Bobby Bare that is). “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me?” has a killer guitar intro and , wait… is that Willie Nelson singing at the opening? Sho’ is! Jamey and Willie together…. nuff said!

The lovely Lee Ann Womack helps Jamey on “This Ain’t My First Rodeo” and the two sound wonderful together and the tune does too. “Love Makes A Fool Of Us All” is my least favorite song on this collection, but it is saved by the addition of Kris Kristofferson. He and Jamey make it work. “Everything But You” brings several stars together on this on. Leon’s back joined by Willie, Jamey and Vince Gill. This is a nice little dance number.

The final cut on the album is “Living For A Song” and is a nice way to finish off the album. Vocals from Kris, Willie, Jamey, Merle, and yes, even Hank Cochran makes this a track to remember. Priceless.

The album is a must for Jamey Johnson fans and it will also help revitalize the original Hank Cochran tracks. It is full of great musicians, well recorded  and produced, and has plenty of great vocals. It is a bit predictable in spots, but a damn fine CD ( makes you really appreciate Hanks’s writing skills). I have mine, so go find your own copy! NOW!!!

Rating: A



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