In the world of music most questions of preeminence are highly debatable. And I’ve opened the discussion to a lot of such topics here at So Much Great Music: Best Rock FrontmenMost Underrated Band; Greatest Live AlbumsBest DuetsThe Worst Song of All TimeTop Songs by Fictional Bands in Movies…and plenty more. Although I attempt to stake out highly-researched, well-argued opinions, ultimately the dutifully articulated conclusions are all rather subjective. Of course.

Another critical category, however, has to be deemed beyond a discussion. It just can’t be challenged. Really. And that would be this: music’s all-time greatest mutton chops. Which, I’m here to tell you, belong to Fred Young of the Kentucky Headhunters. This one’s a lock. Well, at least some kind of locks.

You’ll be forgiven if you’re not familiar with Fred, or even his band, the stalwart southern/country rockers for which he’s been providing the tumbling backbeat as drummer since their inception in 1986. So, in case you didn’t take a good enough look up top, why don’t we just stop for a moment and let you observe this:

In case you’re wondering, that’s Fred there second from the right.

Now then, that’s quite something to behold, isn’t it? A positively regal display. When muso’s offer praise for a given player having serious “chops,” Fred Young can readily accept the compliment in multiple ways.

And I know some of you could be immediately confused, and may be saying that’s just his hair – you know, like from his head. Uh uh. Look again. Those hirsute beauties are hanging down strictly from the sides, entirely separate from anything up top. Pure mutton chops. Side by side, and dropped dazzlingly low.

Any questions? Fred’s chops are truly tops, right? An absolute. An objective fact. The Glutton of Mutton.

Here’s one more look.

Wait, just one more. I’d like to dub this dramatic composition Blazing Choppers.

I got to see the Kentucky Headhunters play many moons ago with my friend Zing, sitting up close at the intimate B.B. King Blues Bar & Grill in the heart of NYC’s Times Square. And they rocked hard through a couple rootsy hours that blended Skynyrd with Chuck Berry; torqued-up bluegrass with a hard-edged twang. But the most memorable moment of the show without question was when Fred and his fabulous chops came out from behind the drum kit to center stage for the encore of ‘Dry-Land Fish,’ a swinging tune from their 2000 album Songs From The Grass Strings Ranch about a prized wild mushroom endemic to the hardwoods of rural Kentucky (when sliced lengthwise their outline resembles the shape of a fish).

The sight of Fred jubilantly exhorting the crowd, his majestic mutton chops swaying shoulder to shoulder as he sang, is not an image easily forgotten. How often, after all, does one get the chance to take in the undisputed greatest of its kind: face-to-face with music’s best muttons.