1-CD-Album deluxe with 72-page booklet, 32 tracks. Playing time: 84:48 minutes.
The big hit of the year was the Kingston Trio's Tom Dooley and the words "folk music" swept the industry. It reached country music and story songs, with a folksy feel, became the order of the day. Six of them reached the Number one spot - Don't Take your Guns To Town (Johnny Cash), When It's Springtime In Alaska (Johnny Horton), The Battle Of New Orleans (Johnny Horton), Waterloo (Stonewall Jackson), The Three Bells (The Browns),El Paso (Marty Robbins) and, just missing the top, Tennessee Stud (Eddy Arnold) - and all also made an equally deep impression in the pop charts.
In addition, as Colin Escott writes in his informative notes, folk music had an unanticipated side-effect: bluegrass music came in from the cold, being represented here by two of its biggest exponents, Bill Monroe (Dark As The Night, Blue As The Day) and Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs (Cabin On the Hill). A truly outstanding year for country songs, 1959 also produced Gotta Travel On (Billy Grammer), Am I That Easy To Forget (Carl Belew), I Ain't Never (Webb Pierce), Heartaches By The Number (Ray Price), Long Black Veil (Lefty Frizzell) and Under Your Spell Again (Buck Owens) while Frankie Miller created a cult hit with the Top 5 charted Blackland Farmer. Traditionalists like Roy Acuff, the Louvin Brothers and Jimmie Skinner further contributed to country music's diverse realms.
After the volumes covering 1945-1955 were released, the word was out. This series is definitive, fabulously packaged, and faultlessly remastered! Everything you'd expect from Bear Family...and more!
Jack Clement, who produced Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Don Williams, and many others, said, 'This is the best country series of all time. No doubt. No question.' Robert Hilburn in the 'Los Angeles Times' said, 'An invaluable album project...enables fans to step back in time and listen to the radio just like Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and Bob Dylan did.'
Now the story continues from 1956 until 1960. Every CD is generously full. Every booklet is extensive and chocked full of rare photos and illustrations, as well as complete stories behind the songs!
In addition to the hits, the series contains rarities that went on to influence country music...and all music...in the years ahead, like Wanda Jackson's original version of Silver Threads And Golden Needles,
Carl Belew's original Lonely Street, and Chet Atkins' influential Walk, Don't Run. This series is designed to introduce new listeners to the very best that country music has to offer... while keeping longtime fans entertained. Every volume is a fabulous time capsule.
Here's the story. For many years, we'd received requests to do a truly definitive country series, but it wasn't until the success of our year-by-year R&B/Soul series, 'Blowin' The Fuse' (now 'Sweet Soul Music' and soon to be continued into the Funk era) that we decided we needed to do something comparable for country music. The first volumes of 'Dim Lights, Thick Smoke And Hillbilly Music' took us from 1945-1955, and now the story continues into the era of the Nashville Sound.
The series has been compiled with today's fans in mind. Sure, the big hits are there, but so are the classic performances that weren't necessarily 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. The booklets alone are 72 pages! Definitive You bet!
Superlatives are often overused, but we feel that this series is part of our mission to bring this incredible music to new fans ... as well as entertaining older fans. We pick up the story in 1956....just as country music was coming to terms with the upset of rock 'n' roll!