Near the end of his life, Ivory Joe spent a lot of time in the country world, performing regularly at the Grand Ole Opry. At the same time, he was still busting out modern funky grooves at soul labels like Stax and Sound Stage 7.
The Record of the Day represents the country side of Ivory Joe Hunter. It was a minor hit in 1959. I suppose some might consider it kind of schmaltzy in arrangement and background singers, but I urge you to ignore that and listen to the song. This time the tables are turned as it is Ivory Joe who is covering a song written by a country artist, Bill Anderson. He gives it the full "Ivory Joe Hunter" treatment, so much so that one would believe it was his own composition.
The lyrics incredibly well-crafted. I can't help but appreciate the duel meaning of "The Great White Way" when delivered by a Black man singing country. Though generally "The Great White Way" refers to Broadway, it seems in this song to be all about Nashville:
A bright array of city lights as far as I can see
The Great White Way shines through the night for lonely guys like me
The cabarets and honky tonks, their flashing signs invite
A broken heart to lose itself in the glow of city lights.
Lights that say "Forget her name in a glass of sherry wine"
Lights that offer other girls for empty hearts like mine
They paint a pretty picture of a world that's gay and bright
But it's just a mask for loneliness behind those city lights.