Roy Acuff

The End of the World

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While it's hard to go wrong with a 23-song compilation of the work of a country great like Acuff, the threadbare packaging of this particular CD does neither him nor his listeners many favors. There are no liner notes other than a perfunctory three-paragraph career summary, and no listings of recording/release dates for the specific tracks, though it's at least indicated that all of them were done for Hickory Records in the late '50s and early '60s. Nor is there an indication as to what the theme of this anthology might be, other than a statement that "we've narrowed the field to his real heart-on-sleeve performances to make a rollercoaster ride through hopelessness, spirituality and all the accoutrements that come with a loss of love, life or even a simple reason to live." So it's hardly an attractive proposition for the general fan or the collector, though the music itself is reliably sturdy fare bridging the gap between traditional country and the more modern forms it would take in the second half of the 20th century. It's also a too cover-heavy to qualify among Acuff's more remarkable work, including material by Hank Williams, Hank Locklin, Marty Robbins, George Jones, Johnny Bond, and the Louvin Brothers, as well as Acuff's version of the standard "Satisfied Mind."

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