Saturday, December 13th, 2008
Ultimate Grammy Collection:
Earlier this year, the Grammys celebrated their fiftieth anniversary with a series of compilations focusing on winners in different fields. Two of the best entries in this series focused on country music. With five decades of winners to choose from, it’s no surprise that Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country and Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Country are solid collections.
The Classic Country set is particularly strong, including a diverse selection of significant artists from the sixties and seventies. Even better, most of them are represented with their signature tracks. Roger Miller opens the set with “King of the Road”, easily his biggest hit. Other superstars include Tammy Wynette (“Stand By Your Man”), Johnny Cash (“A Boy Named Sue”) and Waylon & Willie (“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”)
As the collection moves on to the seventies and eighties, there is a healthy portion of pop-country classics from the likes of Kenny Rogers (“The Gambler”), Dolly Parton (“9 to 5″), Crystal Gayle (“Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue”) and Willie Nelson (“Always on My Mind”). In the midst of that crossover sound, however, there’s a healthy dose of traditional country, courtesy of George Jones with “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
That Jones track is the only one that wouldn’t be familiar to fans that buy the set because they remember those crossover hits, even though it’s a country classic. They might also revel in the discovery of Ray Price (“For the Good Times”) and Jerry Reed (“When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”), which were both AM radio staples back when top 40 regularly played country records. The set also includes mega-hits from Charlie Daniels Band, Lynn Anderson, Donna Fargo and Jeannie C. Riley. The only real misstep is the inclusion of Johnny Cash & June Carter’s “If I Were a Carpenter”, an unnecessary inclusion that was no doubt shoehorned in because of lingering sentiment for all things Cash. That slot would’ve been better represented with Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn’s “After the Fire is Gone.”
Category Album Reviews, Grammys
Tags: Alison Krauss, Asleep at the Wheel, Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels Band, Conway Twitty, Crystal Gayle, Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Donna Fargo, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Gretchen Wilson, Jeannie C. Riley, Jerry Reed, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Randy Travis, Ray Price, Roger Miller, Shania Twain, Tammy Wynette, The Judds, The Mavericks, Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson