BGO's 2015 double-disc set rounds up Charley Pride's first four albums: his 1966 debut Country Charley Pride; The Country Way and Pride of Country Music, both from 1967; and 1968's Make Mine Country. It's no coincidence that the title of each of these records contains "country." That's how RCA convinced the country audience that the black singer Charley Pride was indeed country, but the records make the case plain. Pride sang straight-ahead country music, sweetened slightly with Nashville strings and backing vocals, but he only rarely dabbled in the lusher, folk-influenced progressive country of the late '60s; he does so a bit on The Country Way and Pride of Country Music, but that's just additional texture on straightforward mainstream country records. Not much separates these four records, either in approach or material -- they all play it safe in terms of production and song selection, relying on oft-covered standards and '60s hits -- but they're all satisfying and do the job of establishing Charley Pride as a strong, reliable country singer.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2