1-CD deluxe album with 72-page booklet, 28 tracks. Playing time approx. 78 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!
It was a tumultuous year in the music business. For almost the entire year, the Musicians Union was on strike against the record labels and new recordings could not be made… legitimately, at least. At the same time, there were dramatic innovations in recording technology: tape came into use and Columbia Records introduced the LP.
Toward the end of 1947, it became clear that the American Federation of Musicians would call a strike effective December 31 when agreements with the record companies expired. The problem was that AFM president James Caesar Petrillo was bitterly opposed to both records and to the increasing use of records on radio. The AFM's agreements with radio were good until 1949, but, with the recording agreements running out at the end of 1947, Petrillo wanted to send a message to the networks via the record companies (two of the three major labels, RCA and Columbia, were owned by NBC and CBS respectively). As a long-term goal, Petrillo wanted to shut down the record business; one of his oft-repeated lines was, "These records are destroying us" (Petrillo died in 1984...if he wanted to see the end of the record business, he should have lived another 25 years). In the short-term, he wanted to test the union's strength against the anti-union Taft-Hartley bill, wring a few financial concessions from the record companies, and fire a warning shot over the bows of the radio networks.
With the lessons learned from the 1942 strike, the record companies began stockpiling masters. Initially, the major labels viewed the ban as a blessing in disguise. They could work through their backlog of masters, press up catalog, squeeze out independent labels and, as one unnamed executive said, "there'll be no placating artists with expensive sessions." All of Petrillo's crusades were doomed. Fewer live broadcasts were being picked up every year, more dee-jays were being hired, and music was increasingly consumed at home. The strike lasted for virtually all of 1948, and ended with very minor concessions to the union. The majors adhered to the ban, but the independent labels carried on recording surreptitiously, so the majors’ position vis-à-vis the indies actually weakened. The strike came at a time when every label would have a version of a big hit, but this suddenly became impossible for the majors. Singers, who were represented by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, could still record but only with vocal groups or instruments that the AFM didn’t recognize like harmonicas and ukuleles (whose practitioners were represented by the American Guild of Variety Artists). The other beneficiaries were British companies. EMI began leasing masters to American labels and British Decca, which had sold its remaining stake in American Decca during the War, launched London Records in New York, initially as an outlet for its British recordings.