Various Artists

Louisiana Hayride, Vol. 1

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The first of four volumes of classic country music recorded live on the Louisiana Hayride radio program in the '50s and '60s, Classic Country Radio, Vol. 1 collects ten tracks by Ray Price, Webb Pierce, Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Slim Whitman, and other big names. Each mid-priced disc in the Classic Country series contains approximately 25 minutes of music, and the sound quality ranges from good to poor. These performances are not available elsewhere, which may justify the uneven fidelity, but clearly these CDs are for collectors, not casual listeners. Also, because the source tapes were sometimes home recordings of the radio broadcasts, the dates of the performances are unknown. That said, there are some great moments here, including George Jones forgetting the lyrics in the middle of "The Race Is On," and the spoken intro to Hank Williams' "Jambalaya." Louisiana Hayride is an important part of country music history, and this series, despite its flaws, offers some fascinating documentation.

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