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Driftwood, Jimmie - Americana
(Bear Family BCD-15465 Ger-91 300:-)

Justly renowned as the writer of The Battle Of New Orleans, Jimmie Driftwood was a true maverick. He was an Arkansas schoolteacher who wrote songs to illustrate his classes. He had a sure grasp of history, a rough untutored voice, and he played homemade instruments. His 82 RCA recordings (complete here) are a storehouse of American history and folklore, set to some of the catchiest melodies around. In addition to the complete and uncensored 'Battle of New Orleans', there's such folk and country classics as 'Tennessee Stud', 'Arkansas Traveler', 'Sal's Got A Sugarlip', 'Billy Yank And Johnny Reb', 'I'm A poor Rebel Soldier', and 'First Covered Wagon'. If only all history was this enjoyable!
Gibson, Don - Singer/Songwriter 1961-1966
(Bear Family BCD-15.664-DI Ger-93 500:-)

We pick up where '1949-1960' leaves off, and although the hits were growing smaller, Don was cutting some of the most strikingly original music to come out of Nashville in the early-to-mid '60s. Surely no one else in Nashville would have even contemplated recording with Los Indios Tabajaras, much less made it work. Gospel, standards, blues, and hits like Yes, I'm Hurting, Oh Such A Stranger and A Born Loser are all here.
James, Sonny - Young Love
(Bear Family BCD-16373-FK Ger-02 900:-)

Sonny James, the Southern Gentleman, used the popular Nashville sound of the '60s to countrify pop hits of the past into a form accessible to many, broadening country music's appeal across the nation. This comprehensive 6-CD Box Set contains all of his recordings from 1952-1962 with a completely annotated, detailed 62 page book.
Jones, George - Cup of Loneliness
(Mercury 522635 US-94 200:-)

George Jones' Mercury years - 1953 to 1961 - are his least celebrated, but his most rewarding. Over the barest and purest of honky-tonk arrangements, Jones can be heard developing the vocal style that would eventually separate him from mere country music mortals. Only toward the end of the era, on 1961's number one original hit "Tender Years," does his unmatched balladry truly emerge, sounding light years away from the Hank Sr. tendencies and rockabilly forays of the previous decade. Still, to witness the transformation is fascinating, and the material is uniformly excellent. Fans of Jones's countrypolitan stylings will be amazed by the sheer force of these bare-wire honky-tonk classics.
Locklin, Hank - Please Help Me I'm Falling
(Bear Family BCD-15730-DI Ger-95 500:-)

One of the biggest hitmakers of the 50s and 60s, and one of the most popular country artists overseas, this set includes all of Hank's RCA recordings from 1955 to mid-1964. Those were Hank's classic years, and the roll-call of hits is as impressive as any from that era'Geisha Girl', 'Send Me The Pillow You Dream On', 'It's A Little More Like Heaven' and 'Please Help Me, I'm Falling'. In addition to the hits, this 4-CD set includes the songs from the RCA Victor and RCA Camden albums: 'Foreign Love,' 'Please Help Me, I'm Falling,' 'Happy Journey,' 'The Ways Of Life,' 'Tribute To Roy Acuff,' 'Irish Songs - Country Style,' 'Three Country Gentlemen,' 'Hank Locklin,' 'This Song Is Just For You,' and 'My Kind Of Country Music'.
Parton, Dolly - Dolly
(Sony 8697-48086 EU-09 150:-)

Dolly Parton's story is mighty but it's never properly been told on record until this 2009 Legacy box set. Spanning 99 tracks over four discs, beginning with the early-'60s demo "Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can)" and running until the end of her stay with Columbia in the early '90s, Dolly may miss her bluegrass comeback of the new millennium but this is the only gap in the narrative, and it's not greatly missed, because this captures her prime. Dolly has genuine momentum, beginning with her earliest stabs at girl group pop, running through duets with the Merry Melody Singers, not getting to her star-making duets with Porter Wagoner until the end of the first disc, allowing plenty of time for her complex story to be told in some detail, including several rarities and seven unreleased cuts. Some fan favorites may be missed, but this hits all the hits, along with expertly chosen album tracks, creating a substantial and entertaining testament to Dolly's skills as an entertainer, song stylist, and incisive songwriter.
Ronstadt, Linda - Heart like a Wheel
(Univeral UICY-76518 Jap-14 200:-)

There are just no two ways about it: if you call yourself a fan of '70s music, you simply must have Linda Ronstadt's HEART LIKE A WHEEL.

Like Fleetwood Mac's RUMOURS and The Eagles HOTEL CALIFORNIA, this is a masterpiece that has earned a spot in every record collection that's worth its salt. Ronstadt, the '70s queen of southern California country-rock, is in pristine form. Her angelic voice is flawless as each track flows from one to the other like a gentle stream.

SHM-CD Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Stone Poneys - Evergreen, vol 2
(Universal UICY-77829 Jap-16 225:-)

You may know Linda Ronstadt best as a purveyor of mainstream L.A. pop of the sort that was ubiquitous on the charts in the 1970s, but her folk-rock past is amply displayed here. The Stone Poneys helped define a sound and style that remains pure and enticing to this day.

SHM-CD Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
660696