The Golden Age of American Rock'n'Roll was also the Golden Age of Country Music. The 30 titles on this special edition of The Golden Age of American Rock'n'Roll were major Country hits which also reached the US Hot 100 Pop chart between 1956-65, becoming part of mainstream American culture, and collectively forming a body of work as valid and enduring as any in our main series.
The cultural changes which affected all forms of popular music in the mid-1950s, inevitably influenced the course of country music which rapidly moved away from the cotton patch ?îhillbilly' sounds of the late 40s and early 50s towards more sophisticated productions, reflecting the tastes, desires, sorrows and ambitions of blue collar folk living in town and country. Unlike modern country stars who are subject to the same principles of rapid turnover as their pop counterparts, the country stars of yesteryear were renowned for the longevity of their careers. Once established, they seemed immune to the fickle whims of time and fashion and were guaranteed a following for life, even though some were relatively mature men and women to begin with. Years were lopped off birth dates-.-toupees were de rigueur for the follically challenged male artists and booze, adultery, hypocrisy, suffering and greed marked the patterns of their lives as readily as it informed the songs they sang. It was these human frailties that endeared them to their fans and in their day they brought pleasure to millions.
Tracks featured include standards such as He'll Have To Go, Oh Lonesome Me, Ring Of Fire, Walk On By and King Of The Road, cult classics, such as Flowers On The Wall, Don't Let Me Cross Over, and Six Days On The Road, and influential trailblazers like Ray Price's Crazy Arms and Detroit City by Bobby Bare. These mega-hits, and others like them, provided now-household names like Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline with a springboard to enduring stardom. In common with all GAARR packages, this Special Country Edition comes with a lavishly illustrated 24-page booklet with detailed annotation by Rob Finnis. It's a beauty.
Aside from thousands of regular "Golden Age" fans, this Special Edition is sure to appeal to many of you out there who want just one discerning selection of Country classics in their collections, as well as country diehards who will welcome an opportunity to acquire 30 of their favourite records - beautifully sequenced and mastered - in the same place, at the same time!
By Crawford Anderson