Yoakam Box Compiles Faves, Rarities

Kentucky-born, Southern California-bred honky-tonker Dwight Yoakam will find his impressive 16-year career surveyed Nov. 5 on "Reprise Please Baby: The Warner Bros. Years."

Kentucky-born, Southern California-bred honky-tonker Dwight Yoakam will find his impressive 16-year career surveyed Nov. 5 on "Reprise Please Baby: The Warner Bros. Years." The four-disc Warner Bros./Rhino box collects 89 tracks that span from Yoakam's first album, 1986's "Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc." through to last year's "South of Heaven, West of Hell," the soundtrack to the film of the same name that marked his debut as a screenwriter and director.

While the set's first three discs largely contain previously released material from his own albums, as well as a few compilation contributions and guest appearances, the third closes with two brand new recordings, "Louisville" and "Sittin' Pretty." Along the way are songs Yoakam recorded with mentor Buck Owens ("The Streets of Bakersfield," "Alright, I'm Wrong"), Flaco Jimenez (a cover of Warren Zevon's "Carmelita"), Patty Loveless ("Send a Message to My Heart"), and Sheryl Crow (a cover of Sonny Bono's "Baby Don't Go"), among others.

The set's fourth disc will be the most staggering for longtime Yoakam fans, as it sports 21 previously unreleased studio cuts and live recordings. The first 10 tracks were recorded in 1981 at the legendary Hollywood studio United Western Recorders as Yoakam's professional demo. All of the original songs, which include such revved up numbers as "This Drinkin' Will Kill Me," "I'll Be Gone," and "Please Daddy," were part of the artist's early repertoire, usually played amidst a set of covers in California juke joints with his band, Kentucky Bourbon.

In a lengthy essay that will be included in the "Reprise Please Baby" liner notes, noted music writer Holly George-Warren says the artist and engineer Gordon Schyrock "went a little overboard with the fiddle, mandolin, steel guitar, piano, etc., burying Yoakam's vocals in some of the mixes." But Warren goes on to describe the tracks as "diamonds in the rough" that attracted guitarist/producer/arranger Pete Anderson, "who would help shape the still-fermenting Yoakam sound" for years to come.

Also included on the last disc are two tracks recorded with country vocalist Kelly Willis -- "Golden Ring" and the George Jones/Leon Payne song "Take Me." The balance are nine live recordings that include covers of "Sin City" by major Yoakam influence the Flying Burrito Brothers, Hank Williams' "My Bucket's Got a Whole in It," and the Grateful Dead's "Truckin'." A studio take of the latter was released on Arista's 1991 Dead tribute album, "Deadicated."

Here is the full "Reprise Please Baby: The Warner Bros. Years" track list:

Disc one:
"Honky Tonk Man"
"Guitars, Cadillacs"
"It Won't Hurt"
"Miner's Prayer"
"Little Sister"
"Little Ways"
"Please, Please Baby"
"Always Late With Your Kisses"
"This Drinkin' Will Kill Me"
"Streets of Bakersfield," with Buck Owens
"I Sang Dixie"
"I Got You"
"I Hear You Knockin'"
"Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room (She Wore Red Dresses)"
"Long White Cadillac"
"Turn It on, Turn It up, Turn Me Loose"
"You're the One"
"Nothing's Changed Here"
"It Only Hurts When I Cry"
"The Heart That You Own"
"The Distance Between You and Me"
"Dangerous Man"
"Send a Message To My Heart," with Patty Loveless
"Takes a Lot To Rock You"

Disc two:
"Carmelita," Flaco Jimenez featuring Dwight Yoakam
"Suspicious Minds"
"Doin' What I Did"
"Hey Little Girl"
"Ain't That Lonely Yet"
"A Thousand Miles From Nowhere"
"Try Not To Look So Pretty"
"Pocket of a Clown"
"Home for Sale"
"Fast as You"
"King of Fools"
"Holding Things Together"
"Don't Be Sad"
"Sorry You Asked?"
"Gone (That'll Be Me)"
"Baby Don't Go," with Sheryl Crow
"Train in Vain"
"T for Texas"
"Rapid City, South Dakota"

Disc three:
"Only Want You More"
"Same Fool"
"Things Change"
"These Arms"
"A Long Way Home"
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"Thinking About Leaving"
"New San Antonio Rose," Asleep At The Wheel featuring Dwight Yoakam
"Two Doors Down" (acoustic)
"Bury Me" (acoustic)
"Love Caught up to Me"
"What Do You Know About Love"
"Free To Go"
"A Place To Cry"
"A World of Blue"
"I Want You To Want Me"
"Alright, I'm Wrong," with Buck Owens
"I Was There," with Buck Owens
"Who at the Door Is Standing," with Bekka Bramlett
"The First Thing Smokin'"
"I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide"
"Louisville" (previously unreleased)
"Sittin' Pretty" (previously unreleased)

Disc four (all previously unreleased):
"This Drinkin' Will Kill Me"
"It Won't Hurt"
"I'll Be Gone"
"Floyd County"
"You're the One"
"Twenty Years"
"Please Daddy"
"Miner's Prayer"
"I Sang Dixie"
"Bury Me"
"Golden Ring." with Kelly Willis
"Take Me," with Kelly Willis
"Sin City" (live)
"Truckin'" (live)
"Grand Tour" (live)
"Oh Lonesome Me" (live)
"Today I Started Loving You Again" (live)
"Mystery Train" (live)
"Can't You Hear Me Calling" (live)
"Heartaches by the Number" (live)
"My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" (live)