Various Artists

From the Vaults: Decca Country Classics

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Another fine production of The Country Music Foundation, From the Vaults: Decca Country Classics compiles classic and rare country recordings originally released on the Decca label between 1934-1972. Not all of the songs really qualify as country music -- Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" is a pop hit composed by a rock & roll artist that never appeared on the country charts, and Buddy Holly's "Blue Days, Black Nights" is straight-up rockabilly. The richness and breadth of the music contained herein is remarkable, encompassing cowboy songs, Western swing, brother duos, instrumental music, recitations, country-pop, honky tonk, bluegrass, Cajun, and Texas shuffles. The wide chronology helps illustrate the transition from the raw, rural styles of the '30s to the polished, pop-oriented crossover sounds of the '60s, but -- because of country music's adherence to tradition -- the recordings have much in common despite their diversity and origins across five decades. Collectors of chart hits will be delighted with hard to find selections like Lewis Pruitt's "Crazy Bullfrog," Wilma Burgess' "Misty Blue," and Rex Allen's "Crying in the Chapel," and enthusiasts of early country music will appreciate the beautiful remasters of rare tracks from the '30s and '40s. The booklet provides artist biographies and an overview of Decca's contribution to country music, as well as many photos. Decca was a major force in commercial country music during this period, so From the Vaults serves not only as an effective label sampler but as a historical retrospective of country music itself.

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