Music by Hornsby
Cyril Vetter produced recordings of Butch Hornsby with Don Chesson Jr. at Malaco Studios in Jackson, Miss., in the early 1970s. “We had great players on that session like Carson Whitsett on keyboards, James Stroud on drums, Randy Jackson on bass, and Courtney Westbrook and Hal Ellis on guitar. I used a Jackson-based gospel group, the Jackson Southernaires on backing vocals and the Memphis Horns played the horn charts,” Vetter recalled.
The updated recordings with vocalist Will Kimbrough took place in Nashville in 2009. Will played all instruments and sang lead vocals. Cyril’s goal was producing new versions of Butch's songs as sparsely as possible to underscore the poignancy and emotional power of his lyrics.
Duke Bardwell graciously allowed two of his recordings of Butch's songs for use in “Dirtdobber Blues.” Duke was very close to Butch and is an important character in the book. “It's Real” is a studio recording at Merle Brigante's studio in Austin, Texas, with Merle on drums and his studio rhythm section. Duke's live recording of “Dirtdobber Blues” took place on a recent gig in Birmingham, Ala. “I spliced Duke's spoken-word intro at that gig on to the beginning of Will's studio version of ‘Dirtdobber Blues,’ because I wanted to give Will's version some context,” Vetter explained. “There aren't very many songs written from the point of view of a dirtdobber, so I thought a little back story would be helpful."