Various Artists

Night Train to Nashville, Vol. 2

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AllMusic Review by

Oh yeah! Those who bought the first volume of Night Train to Nashville have been licking their chops for a long while now for this second installment and with good reason. Both compilations coincide with the exhibition of the same name at the Country Music Hall of Fame and reflect the deep roots R&B that flourished in Music City in the years immediately after the second World War and continued to thrive in recordings studios and in the venues of Jefferson Street all the way up until 1970s despite the town being country music's Valhalla. Most of the artists here are Nashville-based, but in order to reflect the true culture of the scene several out-of-town acts are included as well such as Clyde McPhatter and transplant Gay Crosse, who featured a young John Coltrane playing tenor in her band! There are many well-known names here, from Ivory Joe Hunter and Roscoe Shelton to Helen Foster, Arthur Alexander, and Esther Phillips (a native Texan). But they aren't the focus of this set. There are the Kinglets with Leroy Thomas and their killer single "Pretty Please" from 1959, and Bernard Hardison's "Too Much," issued on the Republic label in 1955. There's Lillian Offitt's heart-wrenching "Miss You SOP," issued on Excello in 1957, and Richard Armstrong's "Gene Nobles Boogie" on Checker from 1949. Jimmy Sweeney is also present here in both his incarnations. First under his own name with "Boogie Woogie Jockey" (a tribute to DJ Gene Nobles as was the Armstrong cut), and later as Jimmy Bell in 1960 with "She Wears My Ring." Willie Lee Patton is also here as are the Neptunes, the Gladiolas, and Billie McAllister. What it adds up to at over 39 cuts is another excellent orgy of foot-stomp and heartbreak that offers not only another view of music history, but a wealth of some of the finest tunes ever recorded in the genre and is highly recommended.

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