"In 1977, Morris “Howdy” Glenn spent six weeks on the Billboard Country Singles chart, and was nominated for Top new Male Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music, alongside Vern Gosdin, Mel McDaniel, and winner Eddie Rabbitt." - Co-producer, Scott B. Bomar
While Black influences are inextricably intertwined with the formation of the genre, there is a very short list of Black country performers who made a splash on the national charts or the public consciousness in the 20th century.
After winning the 1974 “Trucker’s Jamboree” at the Hollywood Palladium, Inglewood California firefighter Howdy Glenn began a recording career that not only gained him regional hits on an independent label, but found him appearing to rapturous crowds whenever and wherever he performed live. After singing at the Academy of Country Music’s general meeting, he was signed to Warner Bros. Records by Andy Wickham (who had also signed Joni Mitchell, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Buck Owens, and more). Warner Bros. released his first Wickham-produced single in 1977. His second, a cover of Willie Nelson’s “Touch Me,” spent six weeks on the charts. Glenn headlined at Gilley’s in Pasadena, Texas, and found himself nominated for the ACM’s Top New Male Vocalist award. It appeared as though country music had a possible new star on the rise.
But, as happens inexplicably for some artists, after a few singles, and more material left in the can, a new album from “The Singing Fireman” (as he was dubbed by Warner Bros.) never materialized. Glenn’s early singles were compiled on the Indian Head label LP I Can Almost See Houston, and he recorded another single, released on his own Fire Records imprint. Both failed to land further success, and Glenn continued on with his career in firefighting.
I Can Almost See Houston: The Complete Howdy Glenn collects all the recordings and reexamines the importance and legacy of Howdy Glenn. Containing all eight of his singles, plus six newly mixed, previously unissued tracks from the Warner Bros. vaults, plus an outtake from his Fire Records sessions, this 23-track collection was produced for release by Grammy® nominee Scott B. Bomar (The Bakersfield Sound) and Grammy® winner Cheryl Pawelski (Hank Williams – The Garden Spot Programs, 1950). With restoration and mastering by Grammy® winner Michael Graves, the packaging contains photos, ephemera, and new liner notes from Bomar, outlining not only a brief history of Black artists in country music, but Howdy Glenn’s rightful place in the story.