1-CD-Album deluxe with 72-page booklet, 32 tracks. Playing time: 82:43 minutes.
By 1960 the folk boom of the previous year had died. Nashville, for the greater part, continued to produce records with "crossover" appeal that would provide sales greater than normally afforded a straight country hit. The Nashville Sound was established and creating such smooth recordings as You're The Only Good Thing (That Happened To Me) (George Morgan), The Tip Of My Fingers (Bill Anderson), Please Help Me I'm Falling (Hank Locklin), He'll Have To Go (Jim Reeves) and Floyd Cramer's instrumental Last Date, though Bob Luman's uptempo take on the state of country mortality - Let's Think About Livin' - also found success with both country and pop buyers. Nashville was booming. According to a Time (magazine) report, "it had nosed Hollywood as the nation's second biggest (after New York) record-producing center" .
The city also boasted 100 music publishing companies and 1000 members of the local musicians' union. But Music City had a fast growing rival, Bakersfield, and its soon-to-be-leader was Buck Owens, whose Above And Beyond would open up the pathway to a mass of number ones. George Jones, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Ray Price, Faron Young and Hank Thompson continued their chart careers in their own inimitable manner; veteran Cowboy Copas scored his first ever chart-topper with a revival of Alabam; Charlie Ryan & the Timberline Riders had his only chart success with the iconic Hot Rod Lincoln; and Loretta Lynn was first heard via her chart debut I'm A Honky Tonk Girl.
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!