- Released: July 29, 2003
- Label: Hayden's Ferry
- 1.Hometown America
- 2.A Cigarette Bottlend a Jukebox
- 3.Love's Tragedy
- 4.Jesus, It's Only Me, Johnny
- 5.Talkin' the Talk
- 6.I'm Too Green to Be Blue
- 7.Joe's Truck Stop
- 8.Boogie-Woogie Roll
- 9.She's a Miracle (To Me)
- 10.Goodbye My Love
- 11.What a Man Will Do (A Woman Will Too)
- 12.I'm Raisin' Hell
- 13.I Never Got Over You
- 14.Rock Me Baby
Personnel includes: Big Al Downing (vocals, piano); Byrd Burton (acoustic & electric guitars); Rod Smarr (guitar); Jimmy Clarke (steel guitar, fiddle); Sammy Harp (harmonica); Mark T.Jordan (keyboards); Ed Greene (drums).
Recorded at House Of Bob, Nashville, Tennessee.
Personnel: Big Al Downing (vocals, piano); Teresa Collier (vocals, background vocals); Rod Smarr (guitar); Byrd Burton (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Jimmy Clark (steel guitar, fiddle); Sammy Harp (harp, harmonica); Wayne Jackson (horns); Mark T. Jordan (keyboards); Bob Babbitt (bass guitar); Ed Greene (drums); Scott Springer, Yvonne Hodges (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Bob Krusen.
Recording information: The House Of Bob Studio, Nashville, TN.
Arrangers: Bob Babbitt; Charlie Gregory; Big Al Downing.
Plenty of country singers have made a career by adhering to that old truism: "The key is sincerity -- if you can fake that, you've got it made." Not Big Al Downing, though. The proto-rocker, now comfortable in country duds, performs throughout One of a Kind with a disarming enthusiasm that simply cannot be faked. Whether clearing the dancefloor on "Boogie-Woogie Roll," slyly offering to nuzzle the neck of his waitress in "Joe's Truck Stop," quashing a few memories in "A Cigarette, a Bottle and a Jukebox," or sermonizing on racial intolerance in the touchingly old-fashioned "I'm Too Green to Be Blue," Downing emanates an irresistible vibe. There's nothing affected in his singing; his range is limited, his phrasing a little graceless, and everything he does feels as rough-edged and familiar as a favorite old shirt -- in other words, it's just what the world needs after skidding around for too long on the slick surface of contemporary music. Incidentally, Downing does nod toward other styles throughout this set; there's a Jimmy Buffett-like Caribbean sway on "Goodbye My Love," some hip-grinding blues on "Rock Me Baby," and on ballads like "What a Man Will Do" he shows just how close country and Percy Sledge-style retro-soul actually are. In the end, though, One of a Kind isn't about genre; it's about how a larger than life and even lovable personality can bring a smile to a listener's face, even now. ~ Robert L. Doerschuk