Roy Acuff

Once More It's Roy Acuff

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Acuff's first album for the Hickory label was, as was often customary at the time, not so much a deliberately assembled full-length project as a collection of singles. It gathered the A-sides and B-sides of six singles he issued on Hickory between 1957 and 1960, none of them bearing the influence of rockabilly or the onset of the increasingly smooth and sophisticated Nashville production of the late 1950s. It's to-the-bone hillbilly music, fiddle aboard and drums absent, though the Smoky Mountain Boys play with energetic fullness, and Acuff's lead singing is bolstered by plenty of strong backup harmonies. In addition to several of Acuff's own compositions, the selections include covers of tunes by first-rate writers like Don Gibson and the Louvin Brothers. And although Acuff was in his mid-to-late fifties by this time, it's his vocals that stand out the most, with an almost raw naked vibrato-laden passion that never stoops to gratuitous sentimentality. It's not all solid-as-a-tree trunk stoicism (though there's plenty of that), with catchy country swing coming into the mix on Gibson's "So Many Times," and even deadpan humor on "Nero Played His Fiddle" ("Nero played his fiddle while Rome burned, he liked his music hot"). Once More It's Roy Acuff was combined with his 1962 LP, King of Country Music, on a single-CD reissue on Ace in 2003.

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