Various Artists

Classic Country: 1960-1964 [1 CD]

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While Time-Life is not the first word in reissues, they have done a fine job here with this country overview from 1960-1964. Like other titles in their country series spanning 1950-1979, this two-disc, 30-track sampler skims the top of the charts for the day's country smashes. The period in question was one of Nashville's most transitional, as the rough-hewn sound of the honky tonk style (Hank Williams, Ray Price, Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizzell, etc.) gave way to the strings and pop flavors of the Nashville sound. With RCA leading the way, thanks to Chet Atkins' A&R work and Owen Bradley's production, the industry embraced a smooth and clean sound epitomized by the likes of chart-toppers like Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Roger Miller, Faron Young, Marty Robbins, and Skeeter Davis. This collection features all those acts doing their biggest hits (Miller's "Dang Me," Reeves' "Welcome to My World," Davis' "The End of the World"). As such, the collection proves a worthy introduction for the country newcomer. And lest one think it was all over-produced pop during this time, this edition of Classic Country also features the latter-day honky tonk of George Jones, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, and Carl Butler. Gathering gems from a cross-section of labels, including Decca, Columbia, and RCA, this country roundup will be sure to please listeners itching to get their feet wet.

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