Honky Tonk Masquerade

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Honky Tonk Masquerade
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 1978
RecordedOctober 17-26, 1977
StudioYoungun's Sound Studios, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
GenreCountry rock[1]
ProducerChip Young
Joe Ely chronology
Joe Ely
Honky Tonk Masquerade
Down on the Drag
Singles from Joe Ely
  1. "Fingernails"
    Released: March 1978
  2. "Honky Tonk Masquerade"
    Released: May 1978
Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideA[3]
Dirty Linen(favorable)[4]
MusicHound Folk: The Essential Album Guide[5]
Rolling Stone[6]

Honky Tonk Masquerade is the second album by country singer-songwriter Joe Ely, released in 1978.

Critical acclaim[edit]

Ely's second album has been highly regarded by critics around the world. It was included in the 2005 book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[7] Writer Steve Pond places the album at number 40 on Rolling Stone's list of "50 Essential Albums of the 70s", calling it "the decade's most sure-footed country-rock collaboration".[1] Pond places the album in the same class as such 1970s "country landmarks" as Guy Clark's Old No. 1, Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger, and Terry Allen's Lubbock (On Everything). In addition, New Zealand critic Fred Muller places the album on his list of the top ten "best albums of the rock era".[8]

LP track listing[edit]

All songs by Joe Ely; except as indicated.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Cornbread Moon" – 3:29
  2. "Because of the Wind" – 4:02
  3. "Boxcars" (Butch Hancock) – 4:03
  4. "Jericho (Your Walls Must Come Tumbling Down)" (Butch Hancock) – 2:54
  5. "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown" (Jimmie Dale Gilmore, John Reed) – 2:12

Side two[edit]

  1. "Honky Tonk Masquerade" – 3:46
  2. "I'll Be Your Fool" – 2:52
  3. "Fingernails" – 2:13
  4. "West Texas Waltz" (Butch Hancock) – 5:03
  5. "Honky Tonkin'" (Hank Williams) – 3:27


Credits as listed in liner notes.[9]


  • Joe Ely - vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Lloyd Maines - steel guitar
  • Steve Keeton - drums
  • Gregg Wright - bass
  • Ponty Bone - accordion, piano
  • Jesse Taylor[10] - acoustic and electric guitar
  • Chip Young - acoustic and electric guitar
  • John Goldthwaite - electric guitar
  • Shane Keister - Moog synthesizer, acoustic piano
  • Farrell Morris - percussion
  • Lea Jane Berinati, Ginger Holloday, Lisa Silver, Jesse Taylor, Lloyd Maines, Gregg Wright - backing vocals
  • Butch Hancock – background vocals on "West Texas Waltz"


  • Produced by Chip Young
  • Recorded/remixed: Youngun' Sounds Studios, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
    • Engineer – Chip Young
  • Mastering Studio: MCA Recording Studios, Universal City, California
    • Mastering Engineer – Larry Boden
  • Digitally re-mastered at Masterfonics using the JVC Digital Audio Mastering System
    • Engineer – Glenn Meadows


  • Cover photo – Paul Milosevich


In 2000, a remastered edition of Ely's first two albums (Joe Ely and Honky Tonk Masquerade) were released together on a single disk. Dirty Linen reported that this disk was especially worth seeking out since it was (at least at the time), "the only place on two continents you can get Ely's debut". The reviewer described Ely's first two albums together: "Ely's self-titled effort and HTM are a bit leaner than most of his other honky-tonk rockers, with a bit more piano than electric guitar backing his lonesome warble – dry and forceful as the wind whistling through Waco."[4]

year format record company catalog number
1978 LP MCA 2333
MCA 20378
Cassette MCA MCAC-10220
1995 Cassette Universal Special Products 20378
2000 CD Beat Goes On (BGO) BGOCD502[11]

Notes and sources[edit]



  1. ^ a b Steve Pond, "The Seventies Reconsidered: 50 Essential Albums of the Decade", Rolling Stone Seventies retrospective issue, 1990 (link)
  2. ^ Mark Deming, "Review: Honky Tonk Masquerade", Allmusic (link)
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: E". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 24, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  4. ^ a b "Linen Shorts" [short review of Joe Ely – Joe Ely/Honky Tonk Masquerade and New Riders of the Purple SageGypsy Cowboy/The Adventures of Panama Red], Dirty Linen, 94, June–July 2001, p.79
  5. ^ Music Hound, USA, 1998–99 according to acclaimedmusic.net
  6. ^ Nick Tosches, "Review: Honky Tonk Masquerade", Rolling Stone, 269, July 12, 1978 (link[dead link]) [note: The album is rated 4.5/5 stars in the Rolling Stone Album Guide, USA, 1992]
  7. ^ Robert Dimery (ed), 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, Cassell Illustrated, 2005 (link to list)
  8. ^ Fred Muller, "The Top Ten albums: The albums of the rock era", AudioEnz, New Zealand, January 2001 (link Archived February 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine)
  9. ^ Reporting of the liner notes for this article were from the MCA CD release, MCAD-10220
  10. ^ "Jesse Taylor, guitarist: born Lubbock, Texas 1950; (three daughters); died Austin, Texas 7 March 2006.", [obituary], The Independent, March 11, 2006 (link Archived February 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine)
  11. ^ This is a remastered disk that combines Joe Ely and Honky Tonk Masquerade onto a single disk.