1-CD deluxe album with 72-page booklet, 28 tracks. Playing time approx. 77 mns.
After many, many requests, we're finally doing a definitive year-by-year country series! And it won't stop when the music is in copyright, either! The most luxuriously packaged single CDs we've ever done! The history of country music told year-by-year from 1945-1970. The first six volumes are complete, 1945-1950. The hits! The classic performances! The truly influential recordings! Painstakingly restored sound! The series is compiled an annotated by Grammy winning Colin Escott. The country series has been compiled with today's fans in mind. Yes, the big hits are there, but so are the classic performances that weren't necessarily big hits at the time, but became influential in the years ahead. Every volume has incredibly detailed behind-the-scenes stories, fabulously rare photos, and an ongoing history of country music set against the backdrop of the broader American music business.
Definitive' You bet!
The battle over speeds was slowly resolving itself. In 1948, Columbia Records had introduced the LP, and the following year RCA had introduced the 45 RPM single. Both companies manufactured their own record players, and Columbia's wouldn't play the 45 while RCA's wouldn't play the LP. But then in March 1950, RCA broke the logjam and announced that it would begin to manufacture LPs and players that would play them. The LP had established itself as the sound-carrier of choice for classical music, and RCA's classical artists were beginning to revolt. In September, Columbia and the third major label, Decca, announced that they would manufacture 45 RPM records and include that speed in their players. For all the bickering, the vast majority of records were still 78s. In 1949, of the 188 million records sold, 177 million were 78s. Just 7.3 million were 45s and 3.3 million were LPs. And of those 177 million records, the jukebox operators bought 46 million.The United States was consumed with the Korean War that started in June 1950 and the Cold War's Communist witch-hunts. The country music industry provided the soundtrack. Elton Britt recorded The Red We Want Is The Red We've Got In The Red, White, And Blue, while Jimmie Osborne chimed in with the somewhat premature Thank God For Victory In Korea (there was a truce in 1953 but as of this writing, the Korean War is still not officially over). Even Hank Williams as Luke The Drifter recorded an admonishment to Joseph Stalin, No, No Joe. In August 1950, several entertainers including the blues singer Josh White were forced to confess that they'd been Communists or Communist sympathizers. None of the Red-baiting songs are included here because they don't withstand repeated listening, but those who want the fall-out shelter experience should buy some tinned goods, hunker down and check out Bear Family's 'Atomic Platters' box (BCD 16065). It's a full cross-section of politically-charged music from this era.
The country music industry was quickly centering itself upon Nashville. Soon after Mercury Records was launched, it had brief local representation in Nashville, but Mercury wasn't a major at the time and the local reps didn't stick around. When Murray Nash became Mercury's first full-time Southern representative, he was based in Knoxville. In 1950, Lee Gillette was promoted from country to pop A&R at Capitol, and was replaced by Ken Nelson in Los Angeles and Walter 'D.' Kilpatrick in Nashville. Nelson eventually edged Kilpatrick out of the picture, but for a year or so Kilpatrick was the first major label A&R man permanently stationed in Nashville. It was also in 1950 that RCA became the last major label to begin recording there on a regular basis.
The years 1949 and '50 saw the emergence of several country stars who would dominate the field for years, although in the case of Hank Williams, he would dominate it from an early grave. Hank Snow, of course, had been recording since the 1930s in Canada, but finally broke through in the United States in 1950. Lefty Frizzell burst upon the scene from nowhere in 1950 and Webb Pierce made enough noise that year to be signed to Decca in '51. Carl Smith made an unostentatious debut but within a few years every one of his records became a smash hit. Ray Price, although not featured in this volume, also began recording in 1950, although it would take considerably longer for him to find his own true voice.