Honky Tonk Hero
by Billy Joe Shaver
(University of Texas Press)
Billy Joe Shaver had lead a very interesting life, to say the least. We have all been privy to certain chapters of the Texas singer/songwriter’s life by way of his songs - tunes like “Georgia On a Fast Train,” “Jesus Was Our Saviour and Cotton Was Our King” and “Old Five and Dimers Like Me.”
With Honky Tonk Hero, Shaver tells a lot of the same stories, only with greater detail, all told in his down home, honest style. Billy talks about his troubled youth; the saw mill accident that took two of his fingers; his huge success following Waylon Jennings’ Honky Tonk Heroes LP, which featured all Shaver penned tracks; all the way up to the death of his wife Brenda and the subsequent passing of his son Eddy.
It’s a short book and an easy read, but make no mistake, it’s a winner. In addition to the life story, the book compiles the complete song lyrics of Billy Joe Shaver, a feature worthy of it’s own book.
-Michael Buffalo Smith