Various Artists

Billboard #1s: Classic Country

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Rhino's 2006 double-disc set Billboard #1s: Classic Country serves up 30 big hits that have topped the Billboard Country charts, stretching back as far as Hank Snow's 1950 standard "I'm Moving On" and running all the way to Randy Travis' 1987 classic "Forever and Ever, Amen." Not that the songs on Billboard #1s: Classic Country are presented in chronological order. It skips around liberally, starting with Willie Nelson's 1980 hit "On the Road Again," then going back to the '60s for Buck Owens ("Act Naturally"), Patsy Cline ("I Fall to Pieces"), and Tammy Wynette ("Stand by Your Man") before reaching back to 1956 for Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" and then going ahead to 1975 for Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" -- and that's just the first six songs. Some collections would suffer from such a haphazard sequencing, but since this compilation is just meant to be a handy roundup of some of the best-known country crossover hits of the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s, it doesn't matter here. And this is a good collection of very well-known songs, the kind of set that will appeal to casual country fans who want good-quality versions of a bunch of standards like "Hello Walls," "El Paso," "King of the Road," "Mama Tried," "For the Good Times," "Behind Closed Doors," and "The Gambler." There are a couple of odd choices, like Highway 101's "Somewhere Tonight," but there are no bad choices, making this a good sampler of some of the biggest country hits of the second half of the 20th century.

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