Country Music Hall of Fame Series

Fans of bedrock country music have reason to shout from the barn lofts. MCA, in conjunction with the Country Music Foundation, has put out the first five in a series of 11 albums that sum up the careers of major artists who recorded for the Decca, Coral, or MCA labels. These individual-artist compilations represent several of the most seminal styles and influential performers in country music, from World War II honky-tonk (Ernest Tubb) to bluegrass (Bill Monroe) to the smoother sounds of early country-pop (Red Foley), along with the declarations of sexual independence and the intimate woman-to-woman songs that accompanied the emergence of country’s first true female stars (Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn). With the exception of the Lynn album, which ignores her only partially successful attempts to stay ”contemporary” in the 1980s, each record presents a solid overview of the performer’s career, including examples of their subspecialties — Bill Monroe’s gospel songs and instrumentals, for instance, in addition to his bluegrass standards. Sold and packaged individually, with 16 cuts from each performer, these albums manage to educate as well as entertain. No country music textbook ever sounded so fine. All five albums: A

Country Music Hall of Fame Series
  • Music