In this week's episode, we're featuring some lost 60s honky tonk from James O'Gwynn: "The Best Of James O'Gwynn" (1962). Nicknamed "The Smiling Irishman Of Country Music", he got his start around the same time as George Jones on the Houston Jamboree in the mid-50s, sharing a label and a legendary producer in Pappy Dailey. They stayed friends during their time at the Louisiana Hayride and Jones cut several O'Gwynn-penned songs. Encouraged to perform on the Opry stage by another good buddy in Jim Reeves, James O'Gwynn had hits, sure enough - three Top 30s, two Top 20s and one Top 10, before being dropped from Mercury Records. That success was never regained on the national stage, but O'Gwynn was kept employed in music for the next forty years, which says something for his quality as a country singer. He possessed a hard-edged honky tonk sound and may well have gone down in history in the same sentence as The Possum had the stars aligned. But James O'Gwynn, a likeable, dedicated family man, never complained about his stop-start career and he had all four biological children by his bedside when he passed in 2011. "The Best Of James O'Gwynn" is a small look back at a man who earnt his place in country music history and who is absolutely worthy of a trip down memory lane.
NB. Many thanks to Carol Murdock O'Gwynn for the help in putting this episode together.