Hank Snow

The Best of Hank Snow, Vol. 1

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In the '50s and '60s -- arguably Hank Snow's most productive decades -- the Canadian singer was as important to country as Dizzy Gillespie was to jazz, Tito Puente was to salsa, and Ray Charles was to soul. Thus, anyone who is seriously interested in classic country could never be satisfied owning just one Snow LP. But novices have to start somewhere, and for those who have not experienced the richness of Snow in his prime, The Best of Hank Snow, Vol. 1 is a good, if imperfect, starting point. Originally released in the '60s, this collection of '50s and '60s hits is hardly the last word on Snow's legacy. But if this 32-minute, 12-song collection only scratches the surface, it is a highly appealing surface. Novices need to hear the most essential stuff first, and essential is definitely the word that describes major hits like "I'm Movin' On," "I've Been Everywhere," "The Rhumba Boogie," and "Bluebird Island." Essential is also the word that describes something as fun as "Music Makin' Mama from Memphis," and it describes something as sentimental as "I Don't Hurt Anymore" -- a gem that spent an amazing 20 weeks at number one on Billboard's country chart in 1954. Vol. 1 offers a rewarding (if brief) taste of Introductory Snow 101.

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