Emmylou Harris

The Best of Emmylou Harris

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Given how long and fruitful her career has been, and the scope of this collection -- an overview of her 1970s offerings -- Profile should no longer be subtitled Best of Emmylou Harris. That said, this is a weighty compilation of very important material that provides a solid introduction to the beginnings of one of America's most important and consistent recordings artists, a woman who has stretched not only country music -- whether Nash Vegas admits it or not -- but pop and rock as well. This material was recorded while Harris was still a "country" artist proper. Her readings of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams" (a gutsy tune to take on with your first record), the Louvins' "If I Could Win Your Love," Dolly Parton's "To Daddy," Buck Owens' "Together Again," A.P. Carter's "Hello Stranger," and Billy Sherrill's "Too Far Gone" established her in the genre as a traditionalist who understood countrypolitan as well. However, this collection also reveals her mastery of the different periods and regions of the music. More interesting and compelling is her version of Delbert McClinton's "Two More Bottles of Wine," which made an R&B tune into a country song, and "Boulder to Birmingham," a song she co-wrote with Bill Danoff that straddles Woody Guthrie's American folk music and a newly emerging country music. The only shortcoming of this collection is that it fails to showcase the newer material she had been working on during these years. For instance, there are no Rodney Crowell tunes present.

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