Recorded when Acuff was in his fifties, The Best of Roy Acuff was a reissue of the 1955 Songs of the Smoky Mountains, repackaged and re-released in 1963 in the wake of his becoming the first living artist elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Whatever its title, The Best of Roy Acuff captures the "King of Country Music" still near his prime, covering his classic songs anew in a slower, more dignified, and, in many ways, equally satisfying phase of his career. The voice is more mellow, darker but also a bit richer, and the modern sound (straight, pure mono) helps some, especially because his backing band is really good. "Pins and Needles (In My Heart)" works better here, and "Wabash Cannonball" and "The Great Speckled Bird" are slowed down only marginally. Not one's first choice, and from a purely historical view certainly not one's only choice for an Acuff CD, but a good adjunct to the classic stuff on Columbia. Other songs include "Fire Ball Mail," "Night Train to Memphis," "The Wreck on the Highway," "I'm Building a Home," "This Precious Jewel," "The Great Titanic," and "Lonely Mound of Clay."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder