Home > Country History > A History of Country Vol. 10: 1961-64 – The Comfort Years

A History of Country Vol. 10: 1961-64 – The Comfort Years

In the late 1950s and early “60s country was in a good shape. The likes of Johnny Cash, George Jones,  Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline (who like Reeves would die in a plane crash), Don Gibson, Kitty Wells, Marty Robbins, Skeeter Davis, Ray Price, Faron Young, Ernest Tubb, ex-boxer Lefty Frizzell and Wanda Jackson were recording prodigious success, even in rivalry with its progeny, rock & roll.These were the comfort years before the social upheaval of the 1960s put into question old certainties, even in the world of country music.

By now, country was no longer confined to the South. In some ways, country influenced the English 1950s skiffle genre, particularly via rockabilly and western swing. In London, a young Keith Richards was obsessed with country even more than he was with the blues (and his love for the genre would return with force when he became friends with Gram Parsons in the late 1960s). In Liverpool, young George Harrison was obsessed with Carl Perkins. And a young Jewish songwriter from Minnesota based his sound on the folk music of Woody Guthrie ““  who once was regarded a member of the country camp (which then was called folk, just to confused matters) ““ and the entire repository of country music. That singer caught the Zeitgeist of the 1960s when he announced that the times were a-changing. Country was not immune from a shifting society.

Spearheading that new age was Johnny Cash, who attracted audiences well beyond the traditional country set without compromising his sound. Outspoken on social rights issues “” Cash recorded an album, Bitter Tears, bemoaning the treatment of Native Americans in 1964 “” he also performed for President Richard Nixon (he refused to sing Nixon”s requests of right-wing songs, instead singing a defence of the counterculture which Tricky Dick so despised). A hellraiser in classic and acceptable country mode, he broke taboos “” such as divorcing and then marrying June Carter “” which scandalised the country set.

Yet, Cash also represented traditional values, particularly his deeply-held Christian faith. Cash was so mainstream that he hosted a TV show, and so alternative that he would invite acts that otherwise would never get an airing. And Cash stood with the downtrodden, performing in prisons (one such gig persuaded the inmate Merle Haggard to forego a life of crime in favour of making music), in the United States and outside. Cash was the first country singer to really provoke (and then stare down) the Ku Klax Klan, which once burnt a cross on his lawn.

Other musical forms were influenced by country, in turn influenced country and even fused with country. In 1962 Ray Charles released his Modern Sounds In Country And Western (employing a terminology for the genre that had no currency in country circles), a collection of shrewdly selected country songs. Around the same time, R&B artists were recording in the country medium, though not exclusively, as Charley Pride later would. These include Solomon Burke, Arthur Alexander, Clarence Frogman Henry, Stoney Edwards, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and even Joe Tex.

Before we get to the business end of this post, a little factoid: Anita Wood at one point was Elvis Presley’s girlfriend, and she recorded on the label which first launched Elvis, Sun Records.

1. The Louvin Brothers – Red Hen Hop
2. Don Gibson – Lonesome Number One
3. Hank Locklin – Happy Journey
4. Bill Anderson – Po’ Folks
5. Anita Wood – I’ll Wait Forever
6. Hank Snow – Conscience I’m Guilty
7. Patsy Cline – She’s Got You
8. Claude King – Wolverton Mountain
9. Freddy Fender – Wasted Days And Wasted Nights
10. Arthur Alexander – I Hang My Head And Cry
11. John D Loudermilk – Road Hog
12. Skeeter Davis – Don’t Let Me Cross Over
13. Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs – Fiddle And Banjo
14. Charlie Rich – Sittin’ And Thinkin’
15. Ray Charles – You Win Again
16. Jean Shepard – Jealous Heart
17. Carl Smith – Air Mail To Heaven
18. Lefty Frizzell – Saginaw, Michigan
19. Willie Nelson – Half A Man
20. Sam McGee – Sam McGee Stomp
21. Buck Owens – Hello Trouble
22. Johnny Cash – Custer
23. Doc Watson – Born About Six Thousand Years Ago
24. George Jones – The Race Is On
25. Kitty Wells – Password
26. Tammy Wynette – I Don’t Wanna Play House
27. Faron Young – My Dream
28. Chet Atkins – Guitar Country

(includes front and back covers. PW here)

GET IT: https://rapidgator.net/file/3949c2817c7721b9fe0f6acb8fcfc110/Cntry61-64.rar.html


Previously in A History of Country
More CD-mixes


Categories: Country History Tags:
  1. paul
    June 15th, 2011 at 09:26 | #1

    wow,some interesting choices..thanks again. a great series.

  2. liz
    June 15th, 2011 at 18:56 | #2

    Best.mix.ever. And a really interesting piece.

  3. lugworm
    June 16th, 2011 at 08:57 | #3

    Excellent! Thank you so much.

  4. June 16th, 2011 at 17:45 | #4

    I have a DVD set of highlights from the Johnny Cash TV shows. I’ve hardly watched them yet as the rest of the family don’t share my fascination with watching an early 70s C&W variety show. Must rectify that – the great thing about this series of posts is that they always prompt me to look out stuff from my collection that I haven’t done justice to.

  5. Sonic
    June 16th, 2011 at 22:55 | #5

    Another winner. And just in time for Father’s Day. As I mentioned previously, my 80 year old dad loves this series. Thanks for your efforts!

  6. Eric
    June 17th, 2011 at 06:40 | #6

    Another fantastic compilation, thanks. Is the Freddy Fender song the original or the 70s remake?

  7. bostig
    June 17th, 2011 at 07:52 | #7

    Thank you very much for those, and other, compilations

  8. June 17th, 2011 at 14:37 | #8

    dear dude, i left you a present at my blog, as a thank you, hope you enjoy
    all the best

  9. halfhearteddude
    June 17th, 2011 at 15:41 | #9

    Wow, that’s a lovely collection. Thank you. Nice to see that Colombia and I see eye-to-eye about the principles of front cover design, and in many cases song selection.

  10. June 17th, 2011 at 16:14 | #10

    your collection reminded me initially of this series, but yours improves vastly on these albums, i agree, about the covers, i bought them at the now defunct Tower record store, primarely for the covers

    my all time favorite movie is The Last Picture Show, and those covers remind me alot about the atmosphere in that movei….

  11. lemonflag
    June 18th, 2011 at 06:05 | #11

    Thanks for this wonderful series.

  12. June 19th, 2011 at 17:08 | #12

    Great set. Thanks.

  1. No trackbacks yet.