Various Artists

Hillbilly Fever, Vol. 3: Legends of Nashville

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"The Nashville sound" commonly refers to the lushly orchestrated country-pop sound also called countrypolitan, which came to prominence in the late '50s. Hillbilly Fever, Vol. 3: Legends of Nashville bypasses that era, choosing to concentrate on the classic days of the Grand Ole Opry. As a result, Legends of Nashville has a wide range of styles, from honky tonk to country-pop, but it all sounds unified because it captures the essence of pre-rock & roll country music (1945-1956). Though the collection doesn't have a story to tell like its two predecessors, Legends of Nashville is just as essential to any comprehensive country collection, simply because of the number of classics available on the disc: Eddy Arnold's "Bouquet of Roses," Ernest Tubb's "It's Been So Long Darling," Pee Wee King's "Tennessee Waltz," Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues," George Morgan's "Room Full of Roses," Webb Pierce's "Wondering," Slim Whitman's "Indian Love Call," Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," Faron Young's "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')," the Louvin Brothers' "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby," Ray Price's "Crazy Arms," Marty Robbins' "Singing the Blues," and Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight." [None of the five discs in the Hillbilly Fever series sold in its initial release, probably because its title was too smug to appeal to either hardcore record collectors or casual country fans. A year after the release of Hillbilly Fever, Rhino reissued the entire series under the title Heroes of Country Music. Unfortunately, the second time around, they pulled several essential tracks from each disc. But even in its edited form, the series is worth getting.]

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