ATTEMPTING TO DESCRIBE THE VARIOUS FACETS OF COUNTRY HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN UPHILL STRUGGLE, WHEN MOST PERCEIVE IT TO BE WHOLLY LIMITED TO THE 'NASHVILLE SOUND'. THIS ARTICLE IS DESIGNED TO ILLUSTRATE THE NUMEROUS STYLES AND THREADS THAT GIVE THE GENRE SUCH TIMELESS APPEAL.
Traditional Country Music can be many things and the sheer variety contained within the term 'country music' is truly amazing and yet the public at large remains largely ignorant of the genre's wider boundaries outside of 'Stand By Your Man' and 'Ring Of Fire'. Even the Oxford Compact English Dictionary continues to dismiss country music as: 'rural or cowboy songs originating in the U.S and usually accompanied by a guitar etc'. So that's alright, then!
Many of us within the industry believe that country, as we knew it, began to lose its rootsy identity during the 1970s and the ensuing decades saw it reduced to little more than heavily diluted rock and pop, with just the occasional steel guitar and banjo lick thrown in to assuage traditionalists. Throughout the 1990s, in particular, it was apparent to many that main-stream country composers had finally lost the will to craft good story songs of the calibre of 'El Paso', 'Miller's Cave', 'The Year That Clayton Delaney Died' and 'Ode To Billy Joe', and resorting instead to the 9-to-5 conveyor-belt system demanded by Music City accountants. Ace songwriters like Tom T' Hall, Harlan Howard and Bill Anderson, who were all adept at encapsulating a strong story-line into an acceptably characteristic 'country' ballad must have baulked at Nashville's gradual but decisive rejection of rural country music. Superstars of the calibre of Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson suddenly found themselves out in the cold and unable to sustain major recording contracts or continue to enjoy radio exposure.
In spite of Nashville's ruthless stance against traditional country music and radio's refusal to programme authentic sounds and play recordings by any artist older than thirty, an undercurrent of resistence began to manifest itself. A number of older stars wealthy enough to indulge themselves began to adopt a 'screw you' attitude towards major labels and radio stations and Dolly Parton, in particular, has returned to her roots with great success and one of her Bluegrass-based albums 'Halos & Horns' received a 5-star rating in the Daily Mail. The late Johnny Cash also went back to basics in his final years and achieved enormous acclaim for a series of largely acoustic albums produced by Rick Rubin.
Once upon a time the likes of Bill Monroe, Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb were signed to life contracts with record labels but no such privilege exists today; accountants and marketing men have seen to that. Even the great Hank Snow failed to make the half-century with RCA and he remained bitter to the end. Country music, as defined by the media, might be as dead as a dodo here but in the United States Bluegrass and other acoustic forms are enjoying a massive resurgence following the surprising and exceptionally low-key success of the George Clooney movie 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'. Such is the magnitude of the new appreciation for Bluegrass and all things acoustic that the mighty Billboard journal now features a Bluegrass chart.
Traditional country music sounds have been totally eclipsed in recent decades by multi-layered backing tracks, vocal enhancement and all the over-production techniques usually associated with the pop culture. We need to remind ourselves what real country music is all about and how it evolved. Country can actually be anything from the haunting strains of a Louisiana Cajun song, a delicious hillbilly hoedown, majestic Texas-Oklahoma jazz-influenced Western-Swing romp, or scincillating fiddle and banjo breakdown played by a Bluegrass or old-timey ensemble. Equally country music can project the more sophisticated up-town sounds of modern Nashville, or the simplistic nostalgia of the fabled Grand Ole Opry.
RUNNING THE GAMUT
Interest in old-style country music is increasing all the while and we thought it only fitting to compile a CD reflecting the various facets of 'America's favourite music'. With 'Sounds Like Country' we are running the gamut of instrumental sounds and vocal nuances that set aside country music from mainstream popular music so many generations ago. It might be argued by some that the likes of 'Wolverton Mountain', 'Big Bad John' and 'Distant Drums' were little more than heavily diluted pop songs but at least they retained vestiges of an indentifiable country music 'sound', unlike much of what now passes for country in 2008.
This particular collection is intended to be an object lesson in musical diversity and aimed specifically at those who see country music as a one-trick pony, with one country song sounding like another. All we ask is that you take time out to re-discover the enormous variety of instruments, tempos and vocal styles sheltering beneath the somewhat erroneous umbrella of 'country' music or, heaven forbid, 'country 'n' western', and re-evaluate a musical genre that's become something of an endangered species in the United Kingdom.
The roots of country music run deep and stretch out to encompass British folk balladry, German lieder, Negro blues and Spanish and French influences. In recent years the educated singer-songwriter has emerged in the form of Tom Russell, Iris DeMent, Gillian Welch, John Prine and Nanci Griffith and succeeded in pushing away the absurd 'yee-har' image that once afflicted a great swathe of country-based artists from Nashville to Austin. The aforementioned writers and artists are akin to born-again Woody Guthries with a penchant for reflecting the true nature of their nation's musical heritage. Guthrie was always deemed to be a folk singer and itinerant balladeer and yet much of his recorded repertoire has been absorbed into country music, in much the same way that the ancient songs of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers' memorable Blue Yodels have come to personify the very foundations of true American country music.
Featured below are Music Maker magazine's own compilation albums of Traditional Country Music, from early historic recordings to the 50's, including The Carters and Jimmie Rogers to Gene Autry and Cowboy balladeers.
Yodelling Boogie, by Wesley Tuttle.
You Broke My Heart Little Darling, by Monte Hale.
In Texas for the Round-up in the Spring, by Texas Jim Robertson.
My Sunny Southern Home, by Buddy Williams.
Barn Dance Polka, by Lulu Belle & Scotty.
Bum Song, by Francis Luther.
Yodelling Hobo, by Gene Autry.
New Waikiki Beach, by Jenks 'Tex' Carman.
Playin' Dominoes & Shootin' Dice, by Ramblin Jimmy Dolan.
Salty Dog Blues, by Morris Brothers.
Only One Step More, by Girls of The Golden West.
Covered Wagon Headed West, by Wilf Carter.
Lonesome Yodel Blues, by Delmore Brothers.
Little Log Cabin, by Hank Noble.
Wyoming Willie, by Tex Morton.
Honky Tonk Spree, by Jimmy Simpson.
Yodelling Teacher, by Texas Drifter.
Lay Down Beside My Darling, by Moon Mullican & The Sunshine Boys.
After the Old Barn Dance, by Colt Brothers.
Don't Fetch It, by Kentucky Boys.
25 tracks of authentic Country Music from the 30s and 40s, featuring classic hoedown style fiddle playing and nasal singing, in the Hillbilly tradition...
Texas Song, by Bob Eaton & The Lone Star Playboys.
Have I Been Mean To You, by Texas Jim Lewis & The Lone Star Cowboys.
Broomstick Buckaroo, by Ozie Water & The Plainsmen, with The Coast Ranch Hands.
Turn That Gun Around, by Jess Willard.
My Home on the Western Plains, by Jack Pierce & The Oklahoma Playboys.
Youre Going To leave the Old Home Jim, by Tex Morton.
11 More Months and 10 More Days Pt1, by The Colt Brothers with The Rex Cole Mountaineers.
11 More Months and 10 More Days Pt2, by The Colt Brothers with The Rex Cole Mountaineers.
I'll Have The Last Laugh Yet, by Alan Flatt.
Little Feller Like Me, by The Kentucky Boys.
Selling What She Used To Give Away, by Bill Tutt.
Promised To Be True While I'm Away, by John Dusty King & The Range Busters.
No Mama Blues, by Leon Chappalear & The Lone Star Cowboys.
My Bucket's Been Fixed, by Eddie Marshall & The Trail Dusters.
Hashin' Up The Devil, by Cal Golden & The Three Valley Boys.
Texas Sand, by The Tune Wranglers.
I Remember, by Texas Wanderers with Dickie McBride.
Rosalinda, by Dick Thomas.
Kansas City Kitty, by Jack Tetter Trio.
Small Town Mama No2, by Buddy Jones.
Mississippi Valley Blues, by Carolina Buddies.
Is There No Kiss For Me Tonight, by Scotty The Drifter.
Boogie Woogie Cowboy, by Cass County Boys.
Gold On The Rainbow, by Carolina Playboys.
The Cat, by Graham Bailey (Hillbilly Willy).
Freight Train Blues, by Hylo Brown.
There's a Little Box of Pine on the 7:29, by Doc Williams & The Border Riders.
Jim Blake's Message, by The Carter Family.
Lonesome Train Blues, by Hank Penny & His Radio Cowboys.
Railroad Bill, by JE Mainer's Mountaineers.
This Train Will Soon Be Leaving, by Wayne Raney & Lonnie Glosson.
Peanut Special, by Ron Parker & His Mountaineers.
Way Out There, by Bill Boyd & His Cowboy Ramblers.
Pan American Man, by Cliff Carlisle.
Risin' The Rails, by The Tobacco Tabs.
Train Whistle Blues, by Jimmie Rodgers.
The Cannon Ball, by The Delmore Brothers.
Reckless Motorman, by The Carter Family.
When The Train Comes Along, by Uncle Dave Macon.
The Davis Unlimited, by Jimmie Davis.
The Train Song Instrumental, by Bill Boyd & His Cowboy Ramblers.
I'm Leavin' On The Blue River Train, by Carson Robinson & His Pioneers.
Wreck Of The Royal Palm Express, by Vernon Dalhart.
I Rode Southern, I Rode L & N, by Merle Lovell.
Freight Train Yodel, by Tex Morton.
Railroad Blues, by Sam McGee.
Fast Passenger Train, by Lonnie Glosson.
Lonesome Railroad, by Darby & Tarlton.
Riding On That Train 45, by Wade Mainer & Zeke Morris with Steve Ledford.
C & NW Railroad Blues Instrumental, by Byron Parker & His Mountaineers.
Steam Locomotive sound effects.
Download the Complete Album of Traditional Country Music Makers Volume 04 Mountain Hoedown
Wiggle, Worm, Wiggle
Girl From Champlain
I'm Knocking At The Door of Your Heart
Just Got Kids
Married Life Blues
Rose Garden Waltz
Just a Little Farm Lad
Honey, Where You Been So Long?
Way High, Way Low
You Can Dish It Out
In a Little Spanish Restaurant
Seven More Days
The Picture at St. Helene
The Covered Wagon Rolled Right Along
I'm Going Home
The Lamp Lighter's Hornpipe
Little Brown Hand
Can't Live with 'Em
All Around Your Heart
Where the Red Roses Grow
Bright Eyed Little Nell of Narraganset Bay
Ragged But Right
Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette)
Let's Elope, Baby
Out on the Lone Prairie
Do Right Daddy Blues
Fifty Years form Now
It Makes No Difference Now
Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
Living in the Promised Land
Hi Falootin' Newton
Jake Walk Blues
What's the Matter, Joe?
Howlin' at the Moon
Singing My Hillbilly Song
On the Banks of the Buffalo
Just a Yodel for Me, by Kenny Roberts.
The Weary Lonesome Blues, by the Delmore Brothers.
China Doll, by Slim Whitman.
Yodelling My Way Back Home, by Jimmie Rodgers.
One More Ride, by Roy Rodgers & The Sons of the Pioneers.
Lovesick Blues, by Hank Williams.
Shanghai Rooster Yodel, by Cliff Carlisle.
The Arizona Yodeller, by The DeZurik Sisters.
My Clinch Mountain Home, by The Carter Family.
Yodel Blues, by Valentin & Pete Martinez.
Anticipation Blues, by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
The Dance at Willow Creek, by Chad Morgan.
She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain, by Foy Willing & The Riders of the Purple Sage.
The Cattle Call, by Rex Allen.
My Mountain High Yodel, by Wilf Carter.
If I Could Only Learn to Yodel, by Patsy Montana & Her Buckaroos.
Wild Cat Mama, by Gene Autry.
The Story of Sleepy Hollow, by Girls of the Golden West.
Away Out on the Mountain, by Riley Puckett.
Mean Old Lonesome Blues, by Buddy Jones.
Yodellin’ Crazy, by Rex Allen.
Rattlesnake Daddy, by Homer Callahan.
Jealous Heart, by Hank Locklin.
Echoes of the Indian Princess, by Slim Bryant & His Wildcats.
Eephin’, by Jimmy Riddle.
Download the Complete Album of Traditional Country Music Makers Vol 08 The Gospel Way
01 The Gospel Way - The Louvin Brothers
The Gospel Way, by The Louvin Brothers.
Hello, Stranger, by The Carter Family.
Shall We Gather at the River, by Uncle Dave Macon.
Shine, Hallelujah, Shine, by Bill Monroe.
He is Coming After Me, by Ernest V Stoneman.
Home of the Soul, by Roy Shepard and The Tri-State Singers.
In the House of The Lord, by Hank Locklin.
The Heart that Was Broken for Me, by The Phipps Family.
When the Golden Train Comes Down, by Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers.
Calling You, by Hank Wiliams.
The Old Rugged Cross, by Doc Williams & Family.
On the Jericho Road, by Jim Jesse McReynolds and The Virginia Boys.
When Jesus Beckons Me Home, by Blaine Smith.
I'll Be an Angel Too, by The Sauceman Brothers.
Crossing Over Jordan, by James and Martha.
No Telephone in Heaven, by The Carter Family.
On the Other Side of Jordan, by Riley Puckett.
Walk in the Gospel Way, by Whitey and Hogan.
I Can't Sit Down, by Whitey and Hogan.
Back in the Old Sunday School, by The Fabulous Beverly Hill Billies.
Lord, You Made the Cowboy Happy, by Sons of the Pioneers.
A Babe, A Star, A Manger, by Denver Duke and Jeffrey Null.
Great Speckle Bird, by Roy Acuff.
I'm A-Goin' Away in the Morn, by Uncle Dave Macon.
Will I Meet Mother in Heaven, by Lonesome Pine Fiddlers.
Download the complete album of Traditional Country Music Makers Volume 10 - Hillbilly Swing
So Lovely Baby, by Rusty and Dog Kershaw with Wiley Barkdull.
You Are the One, by Leon Payne.
I'll Fly Away, by Jim Eanes and The Shenandoah Valley Quartet.
Hot Time Mama, by Hank Panny and His Radio Cowboys.
Honky Tonkin' Rhythm, by Bobby Sisco.
Eatin' Out of Your Hand, by The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers.
Hand Holdin', by Lonzo & Oscar.
Mean and Wicked Boogie, by Maddox Brothers and Rose.
Sippin' Cider, by Surratt and Smith.
Get Along Home Cindy, by Lulu Belle and Scotty.
Judy, by Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys.
Daddy's Glad You Came Home, by Marvin Rainwater.
Tennessee Boy, by Frank Hunter and His Black Mountain Boys.
Indian Scout (Instrumental), by The Farr Brothers.
I Must Leave You, by Jess Little and Bass Slaughter.
Dog Sled, by The Louvin Brothers.
What's the Matter, Joe? by Eddie Noack.
Southern Steel Guitar (Instrumental), by Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers.
Mr. Cotton Picker, by Billy Jack Wills and His Western Swing Band.
Behind the Eight Ball, by Bill Haley and the Four Aces of Western Swing.
Are You Waiting Just for Me, by Red Allen and the Kentuckians.
When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles), by Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers.
Sourwood Mountain, by Hylo Brown and The Timberliners.
Wheeling Back to Wheeling, by Doc Williams and His Border Riders.
Queen of the Rodeo, by Rex Allen.
Download the complete album of Traditional Country Music Makers Volume 11 Country Families
Columbus Stockade Blues, by George & June Pasher.
I'm Gonna Ride, by Dwaine Bell & The Turner Bros.
Curley Headed Baby, by Blue Sky Boys.
Gotta Travel On, by Alex Campbell & Olabelle.
Why Did I Ever Love You, by Slim & Wilma Martin.
Kentucky, by The York Brothers.
Sugar Cane Mama, by The Carlisle Brothers.
Gotta Find Julie, by Lonzo & Oscar.
God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign, by The Carter Family.
Going Down the Road, by Rusty & Doug Kershaw.
Get Down on Your Knees and Pray, by Buzz Goertzen & Family.
On the Jericho Road, by Jim & Jess McReynolds.
Mountain Dew, by Lonzo & Oscar.
That Man of Galilee, by James & Martha.
I'm Watching the Trains Go By, by Doc & Chickie Williams.
Don't Let Them Take the Bible Out of Our Schoolroom, by The Louvin Brothers.
New Mule Skinner Blues, by Maddox Brothers and Rose.
When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again, by Johnnie and Jack.
I Want My Lou, by The Wiseman Brothers.
By the Grave of Nobody's Darling, by Girls of the Golden West.
Rattlesnake Daddy, by The Bailey Bros & The Happy Valley Boys.
Blue Railroad Train, by The Delmore Brothers.
Ace in the Hole, by The Willis Brothers.
Little Birdie, by The Sauceman Brothers.
On a Hill Lone and Grey, by The Phipps Family.
My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You, by George & June Pasher.
Download the Complete Album of Traditional Country Music Makers Vol 12 Honky-Tonk Jukebox
John Wesley Harding.
Who'll Do The Cryin'.
Three Ways Of Knowing.
I Heard The Jukebox Playing.
Married To A Friend.
Long Long Train.
I Got Blues On My Mind.
San Antonio Rose.
Honky Tonk Women.
A Teardrop On A Rose.
Thunder Ligntning Storm Or Rain.
How's It Been Since Our Last Heartbreak.
'Tater Raisin' Man.
What Comes Next.
Country Boy Rock 'N' Roll.
Someone Sweet To Love.
Download the Complete Album of Traditional Country Music Makers Vol 13 Yodeller's Paradise
Where Did the Yodellers Go, by Buzz Goertzen.
Tennessee Houn' Dog Yodel, by Marvin Rainwater.
Yodeller's Lullaby, by Bill Haley.
How My Yodelling Days Began, by Wilf Carter.
Swiss Lullaby, by Slim Whitman.
The Yodelling Cowboy, by Ray Grenfell.
Cuckoo Waltz Yodel, by Donn Reynolds.
Hawaiian Cowboy, by Rex Allen.
The Idaho Yodeller, by Buzz Goertzen.
My Little Yoho Lady, by Wilf Carter.
Cannonball Yodel, by Elton Britt.
Goodbye Old Pal, by Cliff Carlisle.
Lorelei, by Don Reynolds.
I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart, by Patsy Montana.
Gospel Yodel, by Buzz Goertzen & Family.
Sweet Little Cherokee, by Kenny Roberts.
Rockin' Blues, by Jimmie Davis.
Red River Valley Blues, by Wilf Carter.
My Little Lady, by Slim Whitman.
The Skater's Yodel, by Elton Brit.
Back to Good Ol' Idaho, by Buzz Goertzen.
In the Jailhouse Now, by Ray Grenfell.
Arizona Yodeller, by Kenny Roberts.
Grandad's Yodelling Song, by Wilf Carter.
1982 Blues, by Jimmie Davis.
Download the Complete Album of Traditional Country Music Makers Vol 14 Hillbilly Jamboree
Traditional Country Music Makers Volume 14 - Hillbilly Jamboree
I'm All Washed Up With You
Sweet Lips (The Battle Of King Mountain)
You Can't Take It With You
The Night Old Dixie Rose Again
Wreck Of The Number 9
The Lights Are Growing Dim
Rock And Roll Blues
Country Boy Rock & Roll, by Don Reno.
What You've Learned To Become
Six King's Daughters
The Old County Church
Going Back To Old Kentucky
The Knoxville Girl
My Gal's A High Born Lady
The Yodelling Hillbilly
A Good Time Was Had By All
Download the Complete Album of Traditional Country Music Makers Vol 15 Wilf Carter: Canadian Yodeller
Rattlin' Cannonball, by Wilf Carter.
My Nova Scotian Home, by Wilf Carter.
Away Out There, by Wilf Carter.
The Little Shirt My Mother Made Me, by Wilf Carter.
Beautiful Texas, by Wilf Carter.
Red Wing, by Wilf Carter.
Beautiful Brown Eyes, by Wilf Carter.
Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy, by Wilf Carter.
I Ain't Gonna Be a Hobo No More, by Wilf Carter.
I'm Hittin the Trail by Wilf Carter
Cowboy's High-Toned Dance, by Wilf Carter.
May I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister, by Wilf Carter.
One Golden Curl, by Wilf Carter.
The Yodelling Swiss, by Wilf Carter.
Blue Canadian Rockies, by Wilf Carter.
My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby, by Wilf Carter.
Mystery of No. 5, by Wilf Carter.
The Gangster's Warning, by Wilf Carter.
Rye Wiskey, by Wilf Carter.
Dreaming of My Blue Eyes, by Wilf Carter.
Put My Little Shoes Away, by Wilf Carter.
When It's Springtime in the Rockies, by Wilf Carter.
The Last Letter, by Wilf Carter.
Rockin' Alone in an Old Rockin' Chair, by Wilf Carter.
Waitin' for a Train, by Wilf Carter.