The Dynamic Tommy Collins album cover
The Dynamic Tommy Collins

Tommy Collins


Tommy Collins was a key figure in the early development of the Bakersfield sound. (Buck Owens served as Collins’ lead guitarist early in his career.) He was well-known as both a songwriter and a performer; his “If You Ain’t Lovin’ (You Ain’t Livin’)” was a hit for Ferlin Husky in 1954 and again for George Strait in 1988. He also worked extensively with Merle Haggard in the 1970s. He didn’t record that often, partly because, like Little Richard, he abandoned his career early on to join the ministry. The Dynamic Tommy Collins was a 1966 comeback effort, featuring compelling versions of 11 original tunes like the almost rockabilly-ish “If You Can’t Bite, Don’t Growl,” the sorrowful “Be Serious, Ann,” the Merle Haggard co-write “Poor, Broke, Mixed-Up Mess Of A Heart” (which Haggard recorded the same year on his I’m A Lonesome Fugitive album), the semi-novelty songs “Skinny” and “Big Dummy,” and the religious “The Two Sides Of Life.”  

Phil Freeman

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