It's no coincidence that maverick country star Dwight Yoakam rose to prominence in Los Angeles during the 1980s, playing clubs with the likes of Los Lobos, X, and the Blasters. Yoakam's roots revivalism, which borrows equally from the Bakersfield honky-tonk of Buck Owens and vintage Sun Studios-era rockabilly, has much in common with a punk-inspired, back-to-basics approach. THE VERY BEST OF proves that despite--or maybe because of--Yoakam's category defiance, his music is immensely appealing.
Yoakam's willingness to bend the rules is evident in his choice of covers. Included here are a punchy version of "Suspicious Minds," a countrified take on Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me," and a swinging cover of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." To these and other tunes, Yoakam brings his country-rock flair and his truly beautiful baritone croon. But nothing matches his late-'80s cuts, particularly the rave-up barroom classic "Honky Tonk Man" and Yoakam's own "Guitars, Cadillacs," standouts on this excellent collection representing one of country's coolest and most distinctive stars.
Uncut (p.138) - 3 stars out of 5 - "Spiritual heir to Gram Parsons, Yoakam was a similarly-transplanted southerner who fetched up on Los Angeles, riding the tip of the early-'80s new country swell."
Dirty Linen (pp.51-2) - "[A] nifty set of recordings that Yoakam contributed over the years to tribute albums..."