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ITEM#: 13091896

Bear Family's Dim Lights, Thick Smoke & Hillbilly Music series started documenting country's many shifts and changes from the 1940s on. What's been most remarkable about these Colin Escott-produced compilations is how giant the shift was from the mid-'50s on, when honky tonk and hillbilly boogie met rockabilly and pop, more or less head on, and both established and younger artists inhabited the charts. The Nash Vegas industry was in full swing, but was still as interested in trading on its history as it was in moving into more mainstream territory. These packages are handsomely designed, each comes in a hardbound book with 70-plus pages of text and photos. They each feature a long essay by Escott, and contain painstakingly researched track annotations by Richard Weize and his staff. They are brilliant introductions to the music itself as well as authoritatively assembled volumes for music historians and hardcore collectors who want everything in one place. The 1956 volume contains 30 tracks on a single disc. While the hard honky tonk of Ray Price is represented here by "Crazy Arms" and "I've Got a New Heartache," so is the rockabilly blues of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" and "Folsom Prison Blues," and Carl Perkins' wooly "Dixie Fried." But there are other sounds here, too, such as in the still inimitable classic country-pop balladry of Eddy Arnold on "You Don't Know Me," and Jim Reeves'"According to My Heart." There is also the stomping high harmony of the Louvin Brothers on "Cash on the Barrelhead," Wynn Stewart's gorgeous "Waltz of the Angels," and Marty Robbins' signature reading of "Singing the Blues." Wanda Jackson's "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" is here, as is the road-weary "Conscience I'm Guilty" by Hank Snow. Add Johnny Horton's swaggering "I'm a One Woman Man," the bluegrass stomp of the Osborne Brothers with Red Allen on "Ruby Are You Mad," and 16 more similarly excellent tracks, and you have an indispensable collection of country music that reflects a tumultuous but aesthetically fruitful year in the genre's history.~ Thom Jurek
  • Dim Lights Thick Smoke & Hillbilly Music Country - 1956-Dim Lights Thick Smoke & Hilbilly Music Count [CD]
GenreCountry & Western
Publication Date20101115
Publisher ImprintMusic Video Dist.***

1956-Dim Lights Thick Smoke & Hilbilly Music Count

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