• Two great albums from arguably the greatest honky tonk singer. With his distinctive vibrato voice no-one sang drinking and cheating songs better than Gary Stewart.
• The first album “Gary” from 1979 kicks off with a pounding rocker ‘Mazelle’, the first charted single from the album (the other being the leisurely, bluesy ‘Shady Streets’). This faultless ten-song set includes a distinctive rendition of Leon Payne’s ‘Lost Highway’ evoking memories of Hank Williams, and concludes with the truly memorable ‘One More’ where steel guitar and piano provide a perfect backdrop to the singer’s unique vocals.
• “Cactus And A Rose” (1980) moved away from familiar Nashville studio surroundings and into the Southern country-rock arena that first inspired him. Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts were among the musicians and, with Chips Moman as producer, these ten tracks added up to a programme unique to Stewart. It also provided another two chart singles – the title track and the double-sided ‘Are We Dreamin’ The Same Dream’ and ‘Roarin’’, the latter living up to its title as Bonnie Bramlett joins in the raucous barrelhouse fun.
• Every track is a winner, right from the opening ‘Okeechobee Purple’ through to the poignant ‘We Just Couldn’t Make It As Friends’ finale. Incidentally, this was the only Stewart album to enter the pop charts.
• Tragically on 16th December 2003, Gary Stewart committed suicide despondent following the death of Mary Lou, his wife of 43 years a few weeks previously.
• Although his days of acclaim and ground-breaking recordings only lasted for a relatively short period during the 1970s/80s he made a unique impression within country music that continues to be remembered.