Here at Ace Towers we usually have a pretty realistic advance idea of how many copies we’re likely to sell of any CD that we release. But once in a while we put out something that catches the public imagination in a manner that exceeds our expectations in terms of sales and acclaim. Such was the case with our “Special Country Edition” of our “Golden Age Of American Rock’n’Roll” series, which has already sold almost twice as many copies as we initially anticipated, and which is still selling strongly six years on from its initial release.
Any success such as that begs the question “are there any more at home like you?” and, fortunately, country music was never far from the Billboard Hot 100 during the Golden Age. Thus it was recently my pleasure to pick up the compiler’s baton from where my colleague Rob Finnis had left it, and to turn my attentions to pulling together another two-dozen-plus country chartbusters that also “crossed over” to pop.
There’s a slight change, this time around, in that this volume is part of our “Golden Age Of American Popular Music” series. The overall content is slightly gentler on the ears than its predecessor, but there’s nevertheless maximum hard core country content throughout and even a little bit of rockabilly to contrast with the softer elements of some of the exemplary balladeering that’s showcased.
The table of featured artists reads like a mini-Country Music Hall Of Fame: Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold, Lefty Frizzell, Bobby Bare and Johnny Horton being just a few examples of the top talent that’s assembled for your listening pleasure. The set also includes many of country’s all time biggest hits, such as Bobby Helms’ 36 week chart-topper Fraulein, Johnny Cash’s seminal #1 Don’t Take Your Guns To Town and Ferlin Husky’s Wings Of A Dove, the genre’s biggest hit of 1960. All selections have been mastered from the best possible tape sources and you will never have heard them sounding as good as they do here. Chris Bolton, of “Country Music People” magazine, has written an in-depth note about both the tracks on display and the artists that recorded them, and as ever with a “Golden Age” project, there’s an ephemera-packed booklet that would have cracked the CD case if we’d had any more pages to fill.
They say that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but there’s no reason why “The Golden Age Of American Popular Music – The Country Hits” shouldn’t disprove that theory by doing just as well as its sister volume.
By Tony Rounce
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