Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver
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Billy Joe Shaver never became a household name, but his songs -- including "Good Christian Soldier," "Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me," and "I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train" -- became country standards during the '70s and his reputation among musicians and critics didn't diminish during the ensuing decades. One of the best synopses of Shaver's upbringing is his own song, "I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train." When he sings, "my grandma's old-age pension is the reason that I'm standing here today," he ain't kidding. The "good Christian raising" and "eighth grade education" -- not to mention being abandoned by his parents shortly after being born, working on his uncles' farms instead of going to high school, and losing part of his fingers during a job at a sawmill -- are all part of his life story. "I got all my country learning," he sings, "picking cotton, raising hell, and bailing hay." Shaver did a quick turn in the Navy and worked a series of nowhere jobs (including the one in the sawmill) before trying his luck in Nashville. After several back and forth trips between Texas and Tennessee that gained him no response, he appeared one day in 1968 in Bobby Bare's Nashville office, where he convinced Bare to listen to him play. Bare ended up giving him a writing job. Shaver recorded one song for Mercury, "Chicken on the Ground," which went nowhere, but soon his songs began to see the light thanks to Kris Kristofferson ("Good Christian Soldier"), Tom T. Hall ("Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me"), Bare ("Ride Me Down Easy"), and later, the Allman Brothers ("Sweet Mama") and Elvis Presley ("You Asked Me To"). Shaver's real breakthrough, though, came in 1973 when Waylon Jennings recorded an album composed almost entirely of Shaver's songs, Honky Tonk Heroes -- largely considered the first true "outlaw" album. Shaver's debut album was Old Five and Dimers Like Me, produced by Kristofferson and released by Monument (Kristofferson's label) in 1973. Along with the title track, it contained the now-classic Shaver songs "Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me" and the aforementioned "Georgia on a Fast Train." Shaver switched to MGM a year later, but no album materialized. "Raising hell" was, as he had sung, part of his lifestyle at the time, and it kept him out of sight for a couple years. In 1976 Shaver resurfaced with When I Get My Wings on Capricorn, and followed it up a year later with Gypsy Boy. In 1978 Johnny Cash recorded "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Some Day)," a song Shaver wrote just after he chose to give up drugs and booze and turned to God for help. Religious references do crop up his songs (including "Chunk of Coal"), but they never dominate the emotions or get in the way of the earthy rhythms and melodies. Shaver switched labels again, this time to Columbia, in 1980, and recorded three more albums during the next decade: I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal, Billy Joe Shaver, and Salt of the Earth. The latter was produced by Shaver with his son, Eddy, who has played on every Billy Joe record since Old Chunk of Coal (he also toured in Dwight Yoakam's band in the 1980s). After a few more years out of the spotlight, Billy Joe returned once again in 1993, this time recording under the name Shaver. Tramp on Your Street, released on Zoo/Praxis, featured Eddy on lead guitar and Billy Joe's own raspy but lovable voice, and coming out during a time when hunky hat acts where the new flavor in Nashville, it was quickly recognized as one of the strongest and hardest country records to hit the shelves in many years. Shaver toured regularly over the next couple of years and recorded a live album for Zoo, Unshaven, in 1995, but was dropped by the label a year later. Victory followed on the New West label in 1998, with Electric Shaver appearing a year later. The rock-oriented Earth Rolls On appeared in spring 2001. His next four albums, Freedom's Child (2002), the emotional Billy and the Kid (which saw Shaver singing songs written by his late son, Eddy Shaver) (2004), Real Deal (2005), and Everybody's Brother (2007), were all released on the Compadre label. 2007 also saw the release of Storyteller, a live set recorded in 1992, on Sugar Hill Records.
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07/13/2010 - Billy Joe Shaver recovering after minor heart surgery - Read More
06/22/2010 - Billy Joe Shaver Brings the Texas Out California Way - Read More
06/15/2010 - Country music outlaw Billy Joe Shaver uses music as his therapy - Read More
06/15/2010 - Billy Joe Shaver Enters Plea In Firearms Case  - Read More
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01/01/2007 - Bily Joe Shaver Q&A - Read More
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Average Rating : 0              Total Reviews: 48

Billy Joe Shaver  10/21/2005            
David Austin Cody
The "Real Deal" is just that, the Real Deal. As usual Billy Joe has captured all the love and pain in these songs and this CD reflects that 100%. The listener can readily feel all the raw emotions within this man's soul communicated to us through his music. Billy Joe Shaver is one of the last living legends like Kris and Willie, that like so many who have gone before him, will not be fully appreciated until he gone to be with his wife, mother and son. Don't wait to buy his music when it becomes a collector's edition, buy it now and let your soul travel in his shoes down his life's journey of love and pain. May GOD Bless you and your music Billy Joe Shaver. Your friend and fan forever, Dave
Billy Joe Shaver  10/03/2005            
Big & Rich?
Billy Joe Shaver  09/21/2005            
I love this CD!!! Shaver gets better and better the more that I listen to him. This is a must own for any fan of real Country music.
Billy Joe Shaver  08/25/2005            
Johnnie Joe
This guy is where it is at. He has been there done that and it shows. Saw him at 3rd Floor Cantina this year and had a blast. If you haven't seen Billy Joe you have messed up. Live Forever, I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal, I Been to Georgia On a Fast Train. This Corsicana born Texan is legend and being friends with cats like Duane Allman and Dickey Betts ain't too shabby either.
Billy Joe Shaver  07/09/2005            
I've seen Billy Joe 3 times, the first, the first time he played after his by-pass in Gruene. While I had grown up hearing the songs he wrote and feeling as if his "older"lyrics were a comfort to me, a part of my life, and who I was, I had no idea he was the simple,humble man that showed up that night and signed our CD with a smile. I also had no idea what turmoil he has been through this time around.(Eddie and his wife) I saw him again in Conroe Texas at the crawfish fest where he was not the headliner that he should have been. I was at first angry that he did not receive the "head liner" place in the line up. It was only after my husband(who admires Billy Joe beyond belief) was standing in the small crowd with tears running down his face that I understood that Billy Joe did not have to be the star for that night and the people who were there to see HIS show, well, we were the those who would be touched by his performance, the ones who showed up at the un-cool time of the day,we were the blessed and I have been a prophet of sorts when I tell others that seeing Billy Joe is like going to church. It is a religious experience for those who open their minds and their hearts. One day I hope all of the people I have influenced to hear music will one day understand,he has been there,lived it and lived through it to continue to tell us the true story. Thank You.
Billy Joe Shaver  04/18/2005            
i bought this assuming it would have the jason boland song on it and it did not. i guess i sould have looked closer
Billy Joe Shaver  04/18/2005            
i bought this assuming it would have the jason boland song on it and it did not. i guess i sould have looked closer
Billy Joe Shaver  04/14/2005            
Cory Johnson
Diamondback Texas is the best band ever because the lead singer is my uncle.
Billy Joe Shaver  03/28/2005            
Billy Joe Shaver is one of the best damn songwrtiers to ever come from Texas. If only these second generation wannabe's would listen to a couple of his CD's maybe the texas music scene wouldn't be so much crap. Billy Joe is the poet of the plains!
Billy Joe Shaver  11/15/2004            
Billy Joe is a Music God. Please check out another great band that is reinventing Texas Music. Back Porch Mary. Fans young and old will be refreshed by the sounds these guys are putting out. Back Porch Mary is breaking down barriers like never before.
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