At the Golden Nugget
was not only the first live album ever recorded for commercial release by a single country artist, but is arguably Hank Thompson
's best album, representing his amalgam of honky tonk and Western swing better than almost any other long player of its era. Most country artists of his generation responded better to the enthusiasm of an audience than to the cold, usually tense, often retake-laden ambience of a studio, and Thompson
had a very satisfied audience that night in March of 1961. The record is made all the more alluring by the presence of Merle Travis
(who had played on Thompson
's recordings since 1953) on lead guitar, and two numbers out of Travis' repertory ("Nine Pound Hammer," "John Henry") are included among the 13 songs here.