Various Artists

Truck Stop Sweethearts & C.B. Savages: The Plantation Records Story 1968-1981

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Shelby Singleton, the former head of Mercury Records and Smash Records, and firmly established as a record industry maverick, started Plantation Records in 1968, with the idea of making it a dedicated country label, but given Singleton's idiosyncratic nature, it ended up featuring plenty of pure novelty releases, too. Plantation had four million-selling singles during its run between 1968 and 1981, Jeannie C. Riley's feisty and sassy "Harper Valley P.T.A.," Harlow Wilcox's guitar instrumental "Groovy Grubworm," Terry Nelson and C Company's controversial "Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley," and Rod Hart's odd gay truckers' anthem "C.B. Savage," all of which are included in this fascinating two-disc, 50-track set, along with dozens of other rare gems that combine to tell the Plantation Records story. It amounts to a sort of goofy alternative universe to the one that was operating in Nashville during this time, a sort of lost history, if you will, and a fun and endearing testament to the delightfully skewed vision of Shelby Singleton.

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