Like many genres of music, the history of Country music is a long and rich one. It is one of the most popular genres of music on the planet, but it encompasses many different styles and changed greatly over the years.
‘Country Music’ should really be known as ‘American Folk’ (as opposed to English Folk), which originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s & takes its roots from genres such as folk music (especially Appalachian folk and Western music) and blues. It was initially known as ‘Hillbilly Music’.
Jimmie Rodgers is widely regarded as the Father of Country Music, but other acts such as The Carter Family, the ‘Singing Cowboys’ Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, then the legendary Hank Williams helped to popularise the genre.
Although it started in Tennessee (after the Second World War Nashville became the focus of the movement), in California & elsewhere people like Merle Haggard were moving forward into Rockabilly, a blend of Country & Rock & Roll.
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs pretty much defined the genre of Bluegrass. Other stars followed, like Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson, giving a more ‘outlaw’ feel to the music.
Today, it encompasses everything from the technically daunting Bluegrass form to the Grand Ole Opry ‘Glitter’ stars of the seventies and beyond.It can be anything from ‘doom ballads’ to Bruce Springsteen & Steve Earle.
Pretty much all of ‘Southern Rock’ from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Neil Young would also come under the heading of ‘Country Music’ as it is obviously where the roots lie.
As such, the diversity of forms can lead to confusion. You may find some forms that you like and some forms that you don’t.
Even Elvis was really a ‘country’ singer, along with Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, although all three are now more well known for their early Rock & Roll hits.
So, is it Folk ? Ballads ? Frenzied Hillbilly Dance Music ? Rockabilly ? Rock & Roll ? ‘Singing Cowboys’ with Nudie suits ? Southern Rock ? Rock & Roll ? Rockabilly ? Pop ? Yes.
MERLE HAGGARD AND THE STRANGERS Mama Tried (Rare 1968 US first press rainbow rim label 12-track stereo LP with ‘MFD by Capitol Records, Inc.’ perimeter credit and Capitol logo at the 12 o’clock position confimring first issue. The pasted picture sleeve [with Merle bearing a spooky resemblance to the actor James Purefoy, or is that just me?!] is in remarkable condition for its age helped enormously by having been preserved by the original one time owner in a besopke PVC sleeve, meaningit remains near ‘as new’ protected by the clear outer which has been as good as professionally rendered to the inside opening edges of the cover. The vinyl itself is showing only the odd light paper scuff but is in excellent condition overall having been carefully and sparingly played, an exciting find for both classic country purists and newbies!
JOHNNY CASH American IV: The Man Comes Around (Rare and original 2002 15-track Double vinyl LP, prodcued by Rick Rubin featuring an eclectic host of covers by the Man In Black from Simon & Garfunkel to Nine Inch Nails and features Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante on acoustic guitar. Housed in a beautifully presented single pocket sleeve in a typically austere styling, with detailed glossy and personalised inner sleeves. The sleeve shows a little light wear and one of the inners has a split but otherwise are Excellent, the vinyl is superb with just the minor signs of play only)
DOLLY PARTON Great Balls Of Fire (1979 Japanese white label promo sample 10-track LP in ‘neon lights’ picture sleeve with colour picture/lyric insert and obi-strip RVP-6391).
TAMMY WYNETTE 20 Country Classics (Autographed 1977 UK 20-track cassette compilation album, including Stand By Your Man, D.I.V.O.R.C.E, Ode To Billy Joe and Gentle On My Mind, grey cassette shell with blue print, within a standard case with fold-out picture sleeve insert. The insert has been nicely signed by Tammy on the front in a blue point pen PR5040).
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