Proof Country Doesn't Suck

by Kevin Orton
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Hank Sr. and Cash have proven as much. But if you want dark, David Lynchian Honky Tonk, there's nothing like Lil' Darlin' era Paycheck. Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton both put a Gothic spin on Country but together were also one of the greatest singing duos of all time. Same with the Louvins. On the strength of their songwriting, Mickey Newbury and Kris Kristofferson changed the face of Country and paved the way for Outlaw in Willie and Waylon. Bobbie Gentry and Tony Joe White brought a Swamp Funk sound to Country and Elvis followed suit for a career revival. Meanwhile, Glen Campbell hit the Jim Webb songbook with winning results. Hag and Buck Owens fashioned the Bakersfield sound and Gram Parsons took his cue from that. Gene Clark never seems to get the credit he deserves for his pioneering work in Country Rock. Once forgotten, now Townes Van Zandt is now revered. Same is happening to Blaze Foley. The obscure likes of Eddie Noack and Dick Curliss remain forgotten but deserve mention. Meanwhile, Charlie Rich pushed the boundaries of Country long before settling into his Silver Fox formula. Hoyt Axton's My Griffin Is Gone is what happens when Nashville drops acid. Thanks to the Alt-Country revival, Loretta Lynn cut the best record of her career in her 70's. Here are the best places to start exploring. Click an album below to read a review

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Great list! I used to listen to a ton of old time country. If I were going to lobby for an addition who actually went all over the musical spectrum it would be Marty Robbins. Never get tired of him.

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I can't believe I forgot Marty Robbins!!! I grew up on Gunfighter Ballads! Silly me. Consider it a successful lobby! Will add it without delay!

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Whew! Close call.

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Fantastic list, Kevin! There's so much to country that most folks don't know. I grew up in rural America and on the music of these same artists, while tuning in to Saturday nights watching Hee Haw. I think the country that came out of the 60s and...

Fantastic list, Kevin! There's so much to country that most folks don't know. I grew up in rural America and on the music of these same artists, while tuning in to Saturday nights watching Hee Haw. I think the country that came out of the 60s and 70s is a tremendous legacy of music. And I hate this new, warmed-over Lynyrd Skynyrd that passes for country nowadays. Although, Margo Price has it right and her debut is a throwback of good stuff. So glad this list made it to Soundblab!

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Same here Steve! Grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Watched a ton of Hee Haw as a kid. In fact went to school with the son of one of the cast members. And we had stuff like the Johnny Cash and Porter Wagoner shows in syndication. I was obsessed with...

Same here Steve! Grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Watched a ton of Hee Haw as a kid. In fact went to school with the son of one of the cast members. And we had stuff like the Johnny Cash and Porter Wagoner shows in syndication. I was obsessed with this stuff as a kid. Left a very deep impression. I grew up with a kid named Deke Dickerson and his mom had this amazing record collection. Did untold damage to us. Hehehe. We were really into this stuff as tots. Deke is now a kick ass rockabilly guitarist with quite a cult following.

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