Ferlin Husky “Walkin’ And A-Hummin’ Country Classic Revived

 

Ferlin Husky "Walkin' And A-Humin' on the turntable

Ferlin Husky on the turntable.

On the turntable is this 1961 Ferlin Husky release, Walkin and A-Hummin’. On this album, Ferlin revives his 1953 single (the title track), and adds seven Hank William covers, along with four other original tracks.

Walkin’ And A-Hummin’ was Ferlin Husky’s seventh Capitol album release, hitting records stores in January 1961 as ST1546 (stereo)/T1546 (mono). Neither Billboard nor Cashbox were tracking country music albums at that point, so there is no chart information.

I like this album. There is nothing groundbreaking about it, it is an album full of good, solid tracks. Unlike many albums of that era, both country and pop, nothing here feels like filler. Each track holds up well on its own accord. The other point I will make about this album is that it has some of Ferlin’s best vocal work. The album’s liner notes call his vocal style “warm and sincere,” and I would add smooth to that. His website states Red Foley and Bing Crosby among his influences, and their warm, smooth crooning style is evident here. But then, so is the Hank Williams influence, as well.

The Hank Williams influence is very noticeable on Ferlin Husky’s covers of Hank’s songs. Included is a haunting “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” It has a haunting loneliness to it, no matter who sings it. Ferlin, accompanied by a slightly echoed steel guitar, brings that feeling into even more prominence.

Side 1 of Ferlin Husky "Walkin' And A-Hummin'

Side 1. Post 1962 pressing with Capitol logo at top.

Then there is the despair heard in the songs “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You),” “Alone and Forsaken,” and “May You Never Be Alone.” These tracks are performed more in the Nashville Sound style of the time. Ferlin’s vocals are in that Foley/Crosby style. The boisterous style sometimes heard in his upbeat performances is not on this album.

I will never understand how no one has had a country hit with Hank’s “There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight.” Great song and it was a top ten pop hit in 1954 for Tony Bennett. Again, I like Ferlin Husky’s treatment of this classic. His vocals fall closer to that of Bennett’s.

Another song, here, that surprisingly never appeared on any charts is the title track, “Walkin’ And A-Hummin’. A remake, the original was a single for Ferlin Husky in the Fall of 1953.

And then there are the other original tracks. “Undesired” is another despair-infused song, from the pens of Tommy Collins and Bettie Westergard. Ferlin Husky had one of the best voices to handle those types of songs, because he could bring out the sadness in a song. “My Shadow,” written by his then-wife Betty Husky, is arguably the album’s best track. The medium-tempo tune is a well written lyrical piece about the then-common country theme of broken love. “My Shadow” easily could have been a single.

Ferlin Husky "Walkin' And A-Hummin' Back coverThe rest of the tracks (including two tracks written or co-written by Ferlin Husky) maintain the consistency of this album, both in song and performance quality.

This album is long out-of-print and to the best of my knowledge, has never been reissued on vinyl, tape, CD, or digital. That said, used copies seem to be plentiful, online. It occasionally turns up at thrift stores. Copies online ranged from $3 to as high as $30. If you happen to have a near-mint copy of this album (still sealed or never played), Goldmine’s 10th edition book values it at $30 for both stereo and mono version if it is the early pressing featuring the Capitol logo on the side of the label. Later pressings have the Capitol logo at the top. These are valued at $25 and $18 for stereo and mono, respectively.

Again, I like this album. I am not going to say it is Ferlin Husky’s best album because I have not heard all of them. But I am sure it would rank near the top. The vocals are prime, the songs are excellent, and the arrangements are perfectly suited. An enjoyable 30-ish minutes of listening, it is worth picking up if you run across a copy.

Me!ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am Mike The Country Musicologist, both here and on the radio. All the records featured here are from my collection. In case you’re curious (and you’re probably not, but I’m telling you anyway), I graduated with a degree in Broadcasting from Vincennes University. That’s a small college in SW Indiana. I’ve worked in radio at various small town Indiana stations, did some part-time radio at a Raleigh, North Carolina AM station, and most recently (and most successfully) at WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM. See more on my About page. I am also addicted to model railroading, which will also sometimes appear in this blog.

Ferlin Husky "Walkin' And A-Hummin' front cover

Ferlin Husky “Walkin’ And A-Hummin’ front cover

OTHER POSTS:

Ferlin Husky Records “Gone” – Twice

Marty Robbins – Marty After Midnight

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *