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HOWARD VOKES – Tears At The Grand Ole Opry

HOWARD VOKES – Tears At The Grand Ole Opry

 

Mountain Guitar – Tears At The Grand Ole
Opry – Down In The Hollow – It’s All Right Now – This Prison I’m In –
Ghost Of A Honky Tonk Slave – The Love I Once Knew – The Polka From
Outer Space – Forever – Willie Roy The Crippled Boy – If This World
Wants Peace Pray The Rosary
 
Freedom Inn A ‘Live” country music show DVD recorded by Howard Vokes and the Country Boys


 
     This is a ‘double’ whammy of country music.  Howard
Vokes is known as the best promoter of country music in the Northeast
United States.  He headquarters out of Pennsylvania, and when you see a
song with a title like “The Polka From Outer Space” maybe this might be
the legendary ‘needle in the haystack’ kind of CD that could be a lot of
fun.  There is actually one CD and one DVD, the first one is a
compilation of the many songs Howard Vokes recorded at the peak of his
career in country music, and the second one is a ‘live’ video-recording
of what he is doing today.
     The CD was recorded quite a long time ago, over a long
period of time, but it adequately demonstrates Howard Vokes singing
ability as well as his songwriting abilities.  No digital recording
equipment, but what we hear of the instruments, the ‘mix’ is pretty
good.  Think early Roy Acuff and you’d have a pretty good picture of
what Howard’s early country music sounded like.  But, he also used quite
a bit of steel guitar as opposed to resonator guitar.
     This is definitely not the ‘Nashville’ sound, it’s
down-home, traditional, and certainly done with a lot of heart and
soul.  Howard does not name his musicians in the CD, I believe because
this is a sort of compilation using songs from several different early
recording sessions.  The photo of him on the cover of the first CD is a
very young man, curly dark haired, and dressed to the “T” in cowboy
attire, neckerchief and all.  The DVD photo is of the same man, white
hair, same acoustic guitar, and a bolo tie instead of a neckerchief, and
rest assured some of the same songs.
     We’re dealing with a ‘super-star’ from the past with
both of these projects.  Everything we listen to here, is like one
of his early songs, very likely a ‘ghost of a honky tonk slave,’ only in
this case, it’s the real-deal.  It’s Howard Vokes.  The very nice part
of listening to Howard Vokes is his terrific country music voice, so
full of soul, and heartache. This is true on both the CD and the DVD.  I
was quite impressed to notice that his voice as a white-haired man is
as good, or better, than it was when he was much much younger.
     Howard has been inducted into America’s Old Time
Country Music Hall of Fame, and is still a music master to be reckoned
with in Pennsylvania.  If you like adventure, then you will enjoy, not
only a trip back in time, but hearing the same master at the microphone,
doing what he did 50 years ago, just as well today.  The “Polka From
Outer Space” didn’t exactly turn out the way I expected.  It’s really a
good story about a guy who is totally happy dancing with the most
beautiful girl in the world….or make that ‘space.’

BOB EVERHART

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