Mark Ellen reckons the album by My Darling Clementine, who are performing at our next Word In Your Ear gig on May 20th with David Ford, is only the second example of what you could call a British country record.
The first, he reckons, was Elvis Costello's Almost Blue. That was recorded in Nashville with Billy Sherrill. My Darling Clementine's was recorded in London with Nick Lowe's producer Neil Brockbank.
Of course he's wrong in all sorts of ways but you only say things like that to get a response. Without resorting to hair splitting you could mention Albert Lee, Meal Ticket, The Rockingbirds and any number of acts from what you might call the Eddie Grundy wing of country. But it's still not that many.
It's certainly not so many as there are British practitioners of other forms of American vernacular music. We've had hundreds of pretend Dixieland jazz bands, legions of supposedly Southside Chicago blues acts and rockabilly and soul revues by the score. But country acts, not so many.
It's not that there isn't affection for the music. Being the last redoubt of songs that mean something country is one of those strains that Brits return to when the latest hip thing turns out to be meretricious. As the likes of George Jones shuffle of this mortal coil people realise how good they were. And for all its slavish adherence to formula the Nashville pop industry still turns out some brilliant records, which are all the better for being passed over by smart opinion.
You should come along to the Old Queens Head on the 20th. They promise a George Jones tribute. Tickets here.