1-CD with 48-page booklet, 33 tracks, playing time 76:38 mns.
•Complete 1950s recordings by this overlooked Texas artist
•All of his rare Dixie EPs
•His tribute record to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, Gold Records In The Snow
•His version of Beggar To A King, which inspired Hank Snow's 1961 hit version
•His rockabilly classic You Gotta Pay
"I thought Benny Barnes was a fine singer. He was a great artist with a fine stage act. I never could understand why he didn't make it big."
-- Producer H.W. 'Pappy' Daily on Benny Barnes
East Texas country singer Benny Barnes scored a huge hit in 1956 with only his second record, 'Poor Man's Riches', cut for the legendary Starday label, and would quickly graduate from the beer joints of his native Beaumont (where he often shared the stage with George Jones) to the national spotlight of the Louisiana Hayride. He was boyishly handsome, had convincing stage presence, and an instantly recognizable vocal style that melded influences like George Jones and Lefty Frizzell with that of his early idol, Hank Snow. He had defied current trends and record industry wisdom by hitting with a hard country performance at a time when rock 'n' roll had threatened to consume everything in its path.
But there are no sure bets in the record business, as Benny Barnes would bitterly learn when neither these advantages nor the patronage of a major label, Mercury, would help him find a follow-up hit to
Poor Man's Riches. While Benny Barnes would release many more singles over the next 25 years, by the time of his death in 1987, he was essentially forgotten by the country music business.
In this overdue retrospective, Bear Family gathers together Benny Barnes' complete 1950s recordings, most reissued from the original master tapes for the first time, including two previously unissued performances. It was a prolific four years for Benny Barnes, commencing with a couple of early acoustic demos, and continuing through his singles for Starday, Mercury, Dixie, Faith, D, and finally back to Mercury at the close of the decade. Though there were a few definite missteps during this period, it's equally undeniable that Benny Barnes' talent deserved wider recognition than it received – then and now.
The CD comes with a newly researched biography of Benny Barnes by Andrew Brown, rare photos, and a discography.