Various Artists

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Men of Country

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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Men of Country is a collection of 12 songs recorded for the MCA label between 1987 and 1999. The artists are not surprisingly all men and all country singers (and bands in the case of the Mavericks). During this time period, MCA was not a stronghold of traditional country or alternative country sounds, and most of the acts here are straight country-pop like Mark Chestnutt with his Diane Warren-penned "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" or polite country-rock like Tracy Byrd with his super-smooth "I'm from the Country." The label did take a chance occasionally and step outside of the country mainstream with Steve Earle's Celtic-flavored grunge country "Copperhead Road," the Mavericks' lush doo wop-inspired ballad "Oh What a Thrill," and Lyle Lovett's literate contemporary folk-pop "If I Had a Boat" being examples of the A&R department's skill at finding talent and taking a chance on it. This disc is hardly a comprehensive look at what country men were doing in the late '80s and '90s and while it does have some decent tracks, it is really not worth picking up.

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