Country Throwback: George Strait’s Incredible 1982 Performance of ‘Down and Out’ in NYC

by Charles Craighill

For this edition of Country Throwback, we’ll take you back to George Strait’s 1982 performance of “Down and Out.” Strait performed this classic country tune at the Lone Star Cafe in New York City. Strait came onto the country music scene in 1981 with his smash hit “Unwound.”

“Down and Out” appeared with “Unwound” on Strait’s first studio album, Strait Country. “Unwound” reached number six on Billboard’s top country songs. 1982 came with his second studio album with MCA Records titled Strait from the Heart. This album came out on June 3rd, a few months after his March 3rd performance at the Lone Star Cafe.

Strait From the Heart featured George Strait’s first of many Number One singles with “Fool Hearted Memory.” The three other singles off of the album, “Marino Del Rey,” “Amarillo Morning,” and “A Fire I Can’t Put Out,” reached Number 6, Number 4, and Number 1 respectively. This was a good indication as to how the long and fruitful career of George Strait would look.

About “Down and Out” by George Strait

The song “Down and Out” appeared on George Strait’s second studio album, Strait From the Heart. It was recorded by Strait, however, it was written by Dean Dylan and Frank Dycus. It appeared in August of 1981 as the first single off of the 1982 album. While it did not chart all that well, it later became a fan favorite. It peaked out at 16 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs list.

The song contains the quintessential elements of Honky Tonk Country between the fiddle section and Strait’s deep voice. For instance, the heavy fiddle matches the sound of “Unwound,” a textbook honky-tonk album. George Strait became very well known for his return to the old honky-tonk country music similar to Johnny Cash and the outlaw country heroes of old.