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Hoyt Axton, 'Less Than the Song'
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Hoyt Axton, 'Less Than the Song'

By 1973, Axton had already made two forgotten albums and written a bunch of songs for other artists, including "The Pusher" for Steppenwolf and "Joy to the World" for Three Dog Night. But partnered with producer Bob Johnston, Axton fleshed out his country-blues songwriting into "a quiet gem of an album." After this LP, he had a run of minor country hits through the Seventies, while struggling with drug addiction; he died of a stroke in 1999, age 61.

What We Said Then: "Axton's writing has a strikingly distinct character. Most of his songs are straight or modified folk ballads with angular melodic phrases, the gist of each (both musical and lyrical) contained in a powerful chorus. . . All told, Less Than the Song is one of the year's most rewarding achievements by a singer/songwriter." — Stephen Holden, RS 137 (June 21, 1973)