Bear Family's three-volume And the Answer Is: Great Answer Discs from the '50s and '60s series documents the phenomenon of answer records, presenting both the original hit and the response to the single. These were songs designed to respond to hit singles, with the hopes that the second record would climb up the charts as well. Answer records were prevailant in pop and R&B as well as country, but on And the Answer Is: Vols. 1 and 3, Bear Family concentrates on country records. At their best, answer records became classics of their own -- Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," and her response to Hank Thompson's "Wild Side of Life," arguably became even more famous than the record it was answering -- but most of the singles were simply novelties. Consequently, the music here is for fetishists and collectors -- after all, the average fan doesn't need to hear Jim Reeves' "Mexican Joe" followed by Carolyn Bradshaw's "The Marriage of Mexican Joe" -- but for any country or pop music fan with an interest in the arcane and unusual, And the Answer Is is a very enjoyable series. Highlights of Vol. 1 include Webb Pierce's "There Stands the Glass" / Betty Cody's "Please Throw Away the Glass," Hank Thompson's "Yesterday's Girl" / Goldie Hill's "I'm Yesterday's Girl," Skeets McDonald's "Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes" / Goldie Hill's "I Let the Stars Get In My Eyes," Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" / Goldie Hill's "I'm Yvonne (From the Bayou)," and Hank Locklin's "Geisha Girl" / Skeeter Davis' "Lost to a Geisha Girl."
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