Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver

Live at Billy Bob’s Texas

Smith Music Group

Billy Joe Shaver might not have the name recognition of Willie or Waylon, but when those guys need a song, frequently it’s to the Corsicana, Texas native that they turn. From his debut album in 1973, Old Five and Dimers Like Me, which gave us the best song about my home state, “I’ve Been to Georgia on a Fast Train,” and the classic “Black Rose,” Devil made me do it the first time/ Second time I did on my own, Shaver has battled terrible odds to succeed as one of country music’s greatest songwriters.

Live at Billy Bob’s Texas is a great way to introduce yourself to his magical touch with a phrase, because it’s chock full of memorable moments such as “Honky Tonk Heroes,” a hit for Waylon Jennings, or “Wacko From Waco” that he co-wrote with Willie. Shaver’s son and guitarist Eddy died of a drug overdose in 2000, and while the band here is good, featuring Jeremy Lynn Woodall on guitar, the atmosphere is much more subdued from the time Eddy was in the band. Check out Tramp on Your Street or their live album Unshaven for a truly blistering experience, but I doubt the folks that packed Billy Bob’s — a mammoth dance hall that could only exist in Texas — minded the pace. It’s 22 songs plus a DVD of the concert, and every song is a winner.

I’ve been to Georgia on a fast train honey/ Wasn’t born no yesterday/ Got a good Christian raisin’ and an eighth grade education/ Ain’t no need in ya’ll treatin’ me this way.

Damn. It just don’t get no better than that. Head on down to Billy Bob’s and see what I mean.

Billy Joe Shaver: www.smithmusic.com

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