Various Artists

Country Gold [Columbia River]

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    4
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This budget collection of country favorites suffers from spotty fidelity and a lack of consistency. While it includes such name-brand artists as Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Tom T. Hall, the featured songs alternate between scratchy live recordings or updated arrangements with little soul. The two Brenda Lee selections are particularly suspect, resembling studio-music hack jobs. While Lynn's "Fist City" is a memorable slice of sass, it's really the only bright spot on a compilation that sounds as cheap as it costs.

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