If you know me well, you know my alma mater is The University of Texas at Austin.  Therefore, you'll also know that I'm hesitant to like anything to do with Oklahoma.  Now, there are a couple of exceptions.  For example, if you're reading this and you're from Oklahoma, I like you very much. 

The second exception is a cool dude named Hoyt Axton.  


Hoyt Axton (1938-1999)

Most people will refer to the late Hoyt Axton as a country and folk singer/songwriter.  Granted, there are some elements of truth to that, especially when you listen to his underrated solo records.  However, his most famous songs, which were recorded by different artists, are straight-ahead classic rock and roll! Here's a couple examples:

I'm willing to bet that you didn't know Hoyt Axton wrote these outstanding and famous rock songs!

Awesome, right? 

You know what Steppenwolf and Three Dog Night sound like.  But what does Hoyt Axton sound like? Well, as I said before, it's the country/folk variety with maybe a hint of blues.  He doesn't have a great voice (he's certainly competent) but when he softens his voice and adds a touch of rasp, as he does on "Grizzly Bear" and "Gypsy Woman" for example, he actually sounds a lot like Tom Waits.  His lyrics aren't like poetry, rather they're more like sketches of scenes and characters.  So, let's have a listen:

Axton was also a somewhat prominent TV personality and character actor. He appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, I Dream of Jeannie and Diffrent Strokes, to name a few. Before dying of a heart attack in 1999, he was actually arrested when police found about 500 grams of marijuana in his home! Hoyt Axton was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2007.


Fool For Love by Paul Burch

Paul Burch is an interesting artist who mixes elements of Country, Folk, Blues and British Invasion to make very likable music.  Although melodically his tunes are derivative of those by pioneers like Hank Williams, Charlie Rich, Gram Parsons and (sometimes) John Lennon, Burch is imaginative lyrically—enough to make these songs feel totally original.  Released in 2003, Fool For Love is not a knock-out, but it succeeds simply because Burch has an arsenal of many influences and isn't afraid to use them.  And since most people won't be able to pin down any specific inspiration, they are likely to be moved by the diversity the album presents and Paul Burch's sugary vocal, which has just enough vibrato to make an okay voice sound pretty good.  

If you only have fifteen minutes to kill, listen to "Lovesick Blues Boy," "Bad Girl Like She Used To Be" and "Time To Cry."   

Fool For Love by Paul Burch