Out of Hand

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Out of Hand
Out of Hand.jpg
Studio album by Gary Stewart
Released 1975
Genre Country, honky tonk
Length 27:25
Label RCA Records
Producer Roy Dea
Gary Stewart chronology
You're Not the Woman You Used to Be
(1973)You're Not the Woman You Used to Be1973
Out of Hand
Steppin' Out
(1976)Steppin' Out1976
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A- [2]
Rolling Stone Reviewed[3]

Out of Hand is a 1975 honky tonk album by Country music singer Gary Stewart. The singer's second album, his debut for RCA Records, reached #6 on Billboard's Country Albums chart, launching three charting singles, "Drinkin' Thing" (#10), "Out of Hand" (#4), and "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)" (#1). The album, a departure from prevalent country styles at the time of its release, was a critical as well as a commercial success and has come to be regarded as a classic in the honky tonk genre.


Stewart had already abandoned Nashville when RCA's producer Roy Dea heard him on a demo tape and approached him about making the album.[4] Dea partnered Stewart in the studio with a number of well-established country musicians, but focused them on the honky tonk Southern rock that Stewart preferred.[4] The resultant album, Out of Hand, was released in 1975, Stewart's RCA debut.[5]


The album launched three charting singles.[1] The titular song, "Out of Hand," reached #4 on the "Country Singles" chart. "Drinkin' Thing" and "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)," two tracks penned by Grammy Award winning Wayne Carson, reached #10 and #1 respectively. The album itself was a strong seller, climbing to #6 on Billboard's "Country Albums" chart.[1]

In addition to being commercially successfully, the album was, like all of Stewart's early work, critically well received. The year after the album's release, Time magazine said that "all three of his albums have been gushed over by critics".[6] Rock critic Robert Christgau gave the album an A-, stating that "the wild urgency of Stewart's voice reminds me of both Hank Williams and Jerry Lee Lewis, communicating an unrestraint that feels genuinely liberating even when Stewart himself sounds miserable."[7] Rolling Stone gave it high praise as well, stating at the time of its release that "[w]ith practitioners like Stewart around, honky-tonk—and rockabilly—may not be dead yet" and, in a later review, describing it as a "formidable deadpan triumph".[3][8] Allmusic in its review declares it "indispensable for roots music fans of any stripe."[1]


The album is particularly prized within the honky tonk genre, regarded as a classic by a master of the genre.[4][9] A year after its release, Stewart would be dubbed by Time "the current king of honkytonk".[6] Allmusic calls it "the separate but equal third element" — with Back to the Barrooms by Merle Haggard and Honky Tonk Masquerade by Joe Ely — in forming "honky tonk's unholy trinity".[1] Rough Guides' volume on country music declares the album "a brilliantly conceived chunk of country that stands as one of the finest honky-tonk records ever cut in Nashville",[10] while country music critic Bill Malone went broader in calling Out of Hand "one of the greatest honky-tonk country albums ever recorded."[11]

The album, like Stewart's live performances, had crossover appeal. Christgau characterized the album as "the best regular issue country LP I've heard in about five years", which he noted "may just mean that it's barely a country record at all."[7] According to Nashville Scene, Stewart "updated the hillbilly existentialism of Hank Williams for the rock ’n’ roll era."[12] The Encyclopedia of Country Music attributes Stewart's appeal to rock critics, as well as to younger music fans, to his "loud and wild" albums and concerts, but adds that these "made the Nashville establishment wary",[13] with the country music industry at the time of the album's release focused on musicians like Olivia Newton-John and John Denver.[4] In its obituary, CMT staunchly declared him "simultaneously more country than most country artists of his time and more of a staunch, down-and-dirty Southern rocker than almost all of the Southern rockers."[14]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Drinkin' Thing" (Wayne Carson) – 2:57
  2. "Honky Tonkin'" (Troy Seals, Don Goodman, John Bettis, Dave Gillon) – 2:42
  3. "I See the Want To in Your Eyes" (Carson) – 2:38
  4. "This Old Heart Won't Let Go" (Jimmie Helms) – 2:30
  5. "Draggin' Shackles" (Gary Stewart, Nat Stuckey) – 2:25

Side two[edit]

  1. "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)" (Carson) – 2:46
  2. "Backslider's Wine" (Michael Martin Murphey) – 2:59
  3. "Sweet Country Red" (Seals, Goodman) – 2:31
  4. "Out of Hand" (Jeff Barry, Tom Jans) – 2:47
  5. "Williamson County" (Gary Stewart, Mary Lou Stewart, Rick Durrett) – 3:10





  1. ^ a b c d e Jurek, Thom. "Out of Hand". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: Gary Stewart". Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  3. ^ a b Miller, Jim (July 3, 1975). "Gary Stewart: Out of Hand". Rolling Stone (190). Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  4. ^ a b c d Kasten, Roy (January 7, 2004). "Bitter truths: Gary Stewart saw the truth in the bottom of a glass, and it killed him". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  5. ^ Crowley, Larry (January 15, 1992). "Time in a bottle: after decades of drinkin' and thinkin', honky-tonk maverick Gary Stewart has trouble getting mellow". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  6. ^ a b DeVoss, David (September 27, 1976). "A Honky-Tonk Man". Time. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1990). Rock Albums of the '70s: A Critical Guide. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 373. ISBN 0-306-80409-3. 
  8. ^ Guterman, Jimmy (Nov 17, 1988). "Gary Stewart: Brand New". Rolling Stone (539). Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  9. ^ "Gary Stewart, 59, Creator of Country Hits". The New York Times. New York. December 20, 2003. p. 22. Retrieved 2009-08-05.  |section= ignored (help)
  10. ^ Wolff, Kurt; Duane, Orla (2000). Country Music: the rough guide. Rough Guides. p. 376. ISBN 1-85828-534-8. 
  11. ^ Malone, Bill C. (2006). Don't Get Above Your Raisin': Country Music and the Southern Working Class. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. p. 363. ISBN 0-252-07366-5. 
  12. ^ Friskics-Warren, Bill (January 1, 2004). "Gary Stewart, 1945-2003: Hard-living honky-tonker could convey tears-in-your-beer pathos with the best of them". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  13. ^ Kingsbury, Paul (2004). The Encyclopedia of Country Music: the ultimate guide to the music (illustrated ed.). Sourcebooks, Inc. p. 508. ISBN 0-19-517608-1. 
  14. ^ Flippo, Chet (December 13, 2003). "Gary Stewart: Country's little big man". CMT. Retrieved 2009-08-05.