1-CD-Album deluxe with 72-page booklet, 31 tracks. Playing time approx. 80 mns.
'Dim Lights, Thick Smoke And Hillbilly Music 1961'
Country & Western Hit Parade 1961
It was the year that the first inductions were made into the as-yet unbuilt Country Music Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was an extension of the Country Music Association, founded in 1958 as a rearguard action against rock 'n' roll. Two of rock 'n' roll's staunchest opponents, Acuff-Rose's Wesley Rose and Starday's Don Pierce, were among the founders. The initial inductees into the Association's Hall of Fame were Wesley's father, Fred, together with Fred's protégé, Hank Williams, alongside the almost forgotten Jimmie Rodgers. The plaques were unveiled at the Grand Ole Opry on November 3, 1961 and were placed on display at the Tennessee State Museum until the Country Music Hall of Fame was completed in 1967.
In January 1961, Shelby Singleton arrived in Nashville from Shreveport, Louisiana, and opened a Mercury Records office in the Cumberland Lodge Building on Seventh Avenue North. With his arrival, Mercury became a serious player in country music for the first time in its fifteen-year history. Within nine months, Singleton came up with Leroy Van Dyke's Walk On By, George Jones' Tender Years, Joe Dowell's Wooden Heart, and Ray Stevens' Ahab The Arab. The latter two were pop hits recorded in Nashville. Singleton's flamboyancy was just what Mercury needed to establish a presence in a city dominated by the three major players, RCA, Columbia, and Decca. In March 1961, Singleton brought Jerry Kennedy up from Shreveport.
Kennedy had started recording as a solo artist for RCA when he was eleven, and had been a staff musician on the Louisiana Hayride in his teens. "I had known Shelby, and I'd go to his house and help him stuff records in envelopes," he says. "Then one day he asked me to help him run a record shop, and we opened the Bayou Record Store in Shreveport. After that it all happened so quickly. Shelby went to Dallas and cut a cover version of 'Please Help Me, I'm Falling' with Rusty Draper, and then it was, 'Hey, I'm going to Nashville to take over A&R.' I wasn't that keen on moving up, but I came on March 1st to play sessions. I was only making one or two sessions a week, and I was ready to go home by the end of the month, but Shelby got me on the payroll as his assistant."
Kennedy essentially replaced another guitarist, Hank Garland, who became incapacitated after a traffic accident. The most supremely adaptable of Nashville's A-team guitarists, Garland had stepped from the shadows to release his first jazz album in February 1961 (an album that was also the first jazz album produced by Columbia's Don Law after thirty years of A&R work). The following month, Garland was in Hawaii with Elvis Presley before returning to the studios. But then, on the morning of September 8, 1961, he quarreled with his wife, who took their two children to a Nashville motel. Arriving home, Garland found them gone and assumed she'd gone back to her family in Milwaukee. He set out for Milwaukee at top speed intending to catch her, but, around 5:00pm, his vehicle overturned near Springfield, Tennessee.
Garland was thrown from the vehicle and spent weeks in a coma. The story goes that after he came out of the coma, fellow A-teamer Grady Martin brought him a guitar, but left Vanderbilt Hospital in tears because Garland couldn't maintain his coordination. As his money ran out, his friends signed his name on Musicians' Union cards to give him some income. Of course, the record companies owed Garland that … and much more. He'd played on countless sessions, turning in wonderfully succinct and lyrical solos for artists as diverse as Red Foley, Don Gibson, Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Conway Twitty, and Eddy Arnold. Garland never resumed an active role in music, and lingered in a twilight world until his death in 2004. That same year, a movie about his life, 'Crazy,' appeared in limited release, implying that his accident was no accident. Those in the know weren't buying it.
Nineteen-sixty-one was also a year dominated by country music's new breed of songwriters: Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Hank Cochran, Bill Anderson, and…above all…Harlan Howard. Together, they created one of the most memorable years in country music history. Few years yielded so many songs still in rotation.
|1961 - Dim Lights, Thick Smoke And Hillbilly Music 1|
|1:||Don't Worry||Robbins, Marty|
|2:||Sea Of Heartbreak||Gibson, Don|
|3:||I Fall To Pieces||Cline, Patsy|
|4:||Funny (How Time Slips Away)||Walker , Billy|
|5:||I'll Just Have A Cup Of Coffee (Then I'll Go)||Gray, Claude|
|6:||Hello Walls||Young, Faron|
|7:||Po' Folks||Anderson , Bill|
|8:||Tennessee Flat Top Box||Cash, Johnny|
|9:||Right Or Wrong||Jackson , Wanda|
|10:||Foolin' Around||Owens, Buck|
|11:||Louisiana Man||Kershaw, Rusty & Doug|
|12:||Your Old Love Letters||Wagoner, Porter|
|13:||Losing Your Love||Reeves, Jim|
|14:||You're The Reason||Edwards, Bobby|
|15:||Big Bad John||Dean, Jimmy|
|16:||Big River, Big Man||King, Claude|
|17:||When Two Worlds Collide||Miller, Roger|
|18:||Walk On By||Van Dyke, Leroy|
|19:||Tender Years||Jones, George|
|20:||Ragged But Right||Mullican, Moon|
|21:||Under The Influence Of Love||Owens, Buck|
|22:||It's Your World||Robbins, Marty|
|23:||Sweet Lips||Pierce, Webb|
|25:||Heart Over Mind||Price, Ray|
|26:||Diggy Liggy Lo||Kershaw, Rusty & Doug|
|27:||Big, Big Love||Stewart, Wynn|
|28:||Heartbreak USA||Wells, Kitty|
|29:||My Ears Should Burn (When Fools Are Talked Ab||Gray, Claude|
|30:||I Dreamed Of A Hill-Billy Heaven||Ritter, Tex|
|31:||Each Time I Hear (Don't Worry)||Lambert, Gloria|