Randy Travis

Trail of Memories: The Randy Travis Anthology

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Trail of Memories: The Randy Travis Anthology is a welcome, needed addition to his catalog. Although he's had hits collections before, nothing has come close to offering as much music as this two-disc, 44-track collection, nor has anything else made as strong a case for his musical accomplishments -- in this light, he truly sounds like the heir to such classic country singles as Merle Haggard, Lefty Frizzell, and George Jones. Part of the reason that might not have been apparent to some listeners during the '80s is that even a new traditionalist like Travis was recorded according to the state-of-the-art standards of the time. So, even his grittiest material has a clean, sparkling surface, big drums, and a lot of instrument separation, all the hallmarks of mainstream production in the '80s. Years later, it's easier to listen past the production and hear the songs and Travis' singing, which, as this collection proves, is remarkably sturdy and consistent throughout his career. And Trail of Memories touches on each aspect of his career, from his early hits like "Diggin' Up Bones" to his late-'90s recordings for DreamWorks. Throughout it all, what's surprising is how little Travis has changed -- the best of his songs are always strong, simple, memorable, sung in a similar fashion, while dressed in pretty, clean production that disguises how close to classic late-'50s/'60s hardcore country this really is. He was heralded as a keeper of the flame in the '80s, and in 2002, when this collection was released, his music sounds purer than ever. Needless to say, this is an essential cornerstone in any contemporary country collection.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:01
2 3:07
3 4:23
4 3:00
5 3:01
6 4:08
7 2:43
8 3:33
9 3:10
10 2:26
11 3:40
12 2:40
13 2:49
14 3:38
15 3:11
16 3:56
17 3:56
18 3:25
19 2:24
feat: George Jones
feat: B.B. King
22 2:47
23 3:06
blue highlight denotes track pick