Charley Crockett made a splash in country and Americana circles this year with the groovy Gulf soul of Lonesome As a Shadow, but at heart the Texas native is a child of the blues. He puts that idea quite literally to song in a bleary-eyed cover of “Good Time Charley’s Got the Blues” from a new LP titled Lil G.L.’s Blue Bonanza.
Written and recorded by Danny O’Keefe in 1971, “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues” (Crockett stylizes the spelling to suit his own name) quickly became a country standard, with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Elvis Presley all doing their own takes, while Leon Russell even scored a Top 10 hit with it in the Eighties. Crockett’s forlorn drawl gives the dusty classic a fresh sheen, with Rhodes piano, rippling guitar leads and a whistle solo in the closing bars.
“Good Time Charley” is one of 15 covers that will appear on Lil G.L.’s Blue Bonanza, alongside others made popular by George Jones, Ernest Tubb, Ray Charles and one of Crockett’s biggest heroes, fellow Texan T-Bone Walker. The album, which takes its title from a nickname bestowed on Crockett by blues singer Jay Moeller, is the second in a series that started last year with Lil G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee, his first release for Thirty Tigers.
Playing the blues, however, is what Crockett is all about — as he told Rolling Stone Country last April. “I write songs as a resolution to conflict. That’s what I think the blues is. That’s why I’m always calling [my music] the blues,” he said. “The blues is singing about bad feelings, and the way you sing about bad feelings is that you get rid of that baggage and you feel better for having gotten it out.”
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Lil G.L.’s Blue Bonanza will be released December 7th via Thirty Tigers.