Hayden Thompson, reviewed by Memphis Mike
Blue Light Records, 2007

Hayden Thompson, the legendary Sun Records rockabilly artist from the 50's, has made a new country recording for the Finnish label Blue Light Records. "Cutting a country album does not mean that I'm turning my back to my rockabilly fans", states Hayden. The songs with a country flavor suit this Southern gentleman beautifully, and when Blue Light offered a chance to record a country CD he accepted it without hesitation. Actually, the 1966 KAPP Records lp "Here's Hayden Thompson" can be regarded as a paragon for this new release.

Let me preface this review by stating that while Hayden Thompson & I have been friends for 10 years or so, I've never let our friendship bias my opinions about music. If I think a song is a dud, I'll say so. I can tell you this much, THIS is the album he's wanted to record for as long as I've known him! It reminds me of listening to AM radio when I was a kid; this is the sort of stuff I used to hear on WWVA coming out of Wheeling, West Virginia! Good memories let me tell ya!

That being said, what you get with Hayden's latest disk is nothing short of a great country album! If Nashville was putting out quality music like this, they wouldn't need to rely on the tricks and trends of the day.

Starting out with Sorrow Breaks A Good Man Down, you know you're in for REAL country! Hayden's take on the Johnny Cash classic BIG RIVER is just brilliant! In the last verse, he cuts loose vocally like I haven't heard him do in years! If you're familiar with Hayden's 60s KAPP lp, then you already know the gems $16.88 & I Wanna Get Home. You won't be disappointed by Hayden's latest versions! These songs should be considered classics!

A couple of rockin' blues tunes are included. Charlie Rich's Midnight Blues is one of Hayden's faves on here and let me tell ya, it's got some very cool energy. Ed Bruce's 97 More To Go moves along nicely with some very nice (down & dirty!) Chicago blues harp by Pepe Ahlqvist.

Next up is Hayden's song Drivin' Me Out of My Mind, which he originally wrote for Charlie Louvin. Hayden recorded this before on his Rockin' Country Man lp (Sunjay) but this version shows his diversity and proves that a good song will stand up to any take on it. Still Nineteen may just be one of the best country love songs this side of George Jones! This entire CD comes across as a love letter... a love letter from Hayden to the music he loves and to his wife and family. That's just my take on it.

Have no fear rockabilly fans, you haven't been left out! There's a bonus track on here that'll have you boppin'! Hayden and the band recorded a truly fun "jam session" version of Mystery Train... and before you think "Yeah...heard that before" give this a listen! It's a truly original take on a classic! AND IT COOKS WITH GAS KIDDIES!!! Hayden & company sound like they're having more fun than people should be allowed!

15 Great Tracks! If you're a fan of REAL country you NEED this CD! If you're a Hayden Thompson fan, you NEED this CD! If you're just a fan of good music, you NEED this CD! What are you waiting for? GO GET IT SON!

Sorrow Breaks A Good Man Down / Black Cloud / Big River / Just To Satisfy You / I've Got It Again / $16.88 / Midnight Blues / I'd Run A Mile To You / I Wanna Get Home / 97 More To Go / Drive Me Outta My Mind / Four Strong Winds / No Love Have I / Still Nineteen / Mystery Train aka The Happy Song

Hayden Thompson - Vocals
Tommi Viksten - Electric & Acoustic Lead Guitars, Harmony Vocals
Olli Haavisto - Dobro, Pedal Steel, Mandolin, Rhythm Guitars
Pekka Grohn - Keyboards, Bass Guitar
Mika Railo - Double Bass
Janne Haavisto - Drums, Percussion
Sade Rissanen - Backing Vocals
Veera Railo - Backing Vocals
Paavo Hyokki - Backing Vocals, Violoncello
Sade Rissanen - Backing Vocals & String Arrangements

CLICK HERE to read Hayden's Biography by Memphis Mike

More about Hayden Thompson:

Reviewed by Memphis Mike for BlackCat Rockabilly Europe
March 5, 2007 (coincidentally, Hayden's birthday)