Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
From Where I Stand: The Black Experience In Country Music
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Special Interest, Pop, R&B
From Where I Stand traces the history of a specific influence--the country tradition--on a particular group: black American musicians. In both conception and execution it's nearly perfect. Through three discs, this 60-song... more »
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From Where I Stand traces the history of a specific influence--the country tradition--on a particular group: black American musicians. In both conception and execution it's nearly perfect. Through three discs, this 60-song box shows how country music began in the string-band era as something shared, more than less, by both black and white musicians; how country songs have been a consistent source of inspiration to R&B and soul performers from Etta James to Al Green; and how singers such as Stoney Edwards and O.B. McClinton have followed in the footsteps of Charley Pride to help in the creation of today's brand of rock & roll-influenced country music. Which is all just to say that, for fans of country-music history, From Where I Stand is absolutely essential. --David Cantwell
Fantastic Chronicle Of Blacks In Country Music
James E. Bagley | Sanatoga, PA USA | 01/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With the exception of Charley Pride, it has always seemed as if black singers and country music were mutually exclusive entities. This three disc, sixty-track box set goes a long way toward dispelling that myth, and in turn revealing that African Americans have in fact played a large part in the development of country music. Disc one, The Stringband Era, covers recordings from 1927 through 1946 and leads off with a pair of numbers ("Pan American Blues" and "Muscle Shoals Blues") by harmonica ace DeFord Bailey (who, incidentally, was a founding member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1926 and a participant in the first recording session in Nashville in 1928). After several stellar banjo and fiddle-featured acts like the Mississippi Shieks, we move on to some early `40s recordings by blues legend Leadbelly ("Midnight Special," "Rock Island Line"). His tracks in particular show how much the roots of blues and country overlapped. As annotator Bill Ivey attests in the set's extensive booklet, the division which took place between these southern-based genres during the `20s appears to be based more on the record companies' decision to market product to whites and blacks separately, and less on disparate musical approaches. The link between blues and country is further emphasized on disc two, The Soul Country Years. It offers rhythm and blues stars from the early `50s through the mid `70s performing well known country standards. Some of these recordings, like Joe Simon's "The Chokin' Kind" (initially recorded by Waylon Jennings) and Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue" (originated by
Wilma Burgess) impressively became major hits on the pop and soul charts while still maintaining their country arrangements. Other tunes found here, like Etta James' sensual rendition of David Houston's "Almost Persuaded" and Al Green's intimate take on the Ray Price hit "For The Good Times," were never intended to be anything more than change-of-pace album tracks. But while conceived initially as filler, these tracks ultimately showcase - quite convincingly - the artists' diversity. The only exception to the plethora of gems on this disc is the Supremes' awkward take on Floyd Tillman's "It Makes No Difference Now." The third and final disc, Forward With Pride, takes a look at blacks in country music since the emergence of superstar Charley Pride in the mid-'60s. It leads off with four Pride singles (the most devoted to any artist on this collection), including his rare first release "The Snakes Crawl At Night" and his signature tune "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'." Three artists follow who each made the country charts fifteen times during the `70s and `80s: Stoney "She's My Rock" Edwards, O.B. "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You" McClinton, and Big Al "Touch Me (I'll Be Your Fool Once More)" Dowling. All three are represented here by their biggest hits, and while none attained superstar status like Pride, each soundly made his presence felt in country music. Black females also made a dent on the country charts during the `70s and `80s - most notably Linda Martell, whose top 20 hit "Color Him Father" can be found on this disc. Disc three also includes some material by established pop and r & b artists who made successful one-time forays onto the country charts, such as the Pointer Sisters' "Fairytale," Fats Domino's "Whiskey Heaven," and Aaron Neville's "The Grand Tour." In addition, Cleve Francis' hit "Love Light" is here (among others) to conclude this set and remind us that blacks
have continued to make a few ripples in country music in the `90s. Hopefully, From Where I Stand is only the beginning (and not a retrospective) of black musicians' involvement in country music, with its rich contents inspiring others to partake in the future."
Country Music Fan or Not: This CD is Worth a Look
Ibochild | Los Angeles, CA USA | 09/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before purchasing this box set, I could probably count on one hand the number of country music records in my personal collection. I knew about Charley Pride and the forays made into country music made by the likes of Ray Charles and the Pointer Sisters, but this collection really expanded my mind. What is particularly nice about this box set is that it shows you the similarities that country music has with the blues and Black music in general. The first CD (entitled "The Stringband Era") starts off with the incredible harmonica playing of DeFord Bailey. When he plays "Pan American Blues," you really get the sense that a train is coming. Highlights of this CD are the two Leadbelly recordings and "G Rag" by the Georgia Yellow Hammers (with Andrew Baxter). Also of note is the Memphis Sheiks recording of the Jimmie Rodgers composition, "In the Jailhouse Now." In that recording, note how the lyrics are modified slightly from the original version. "The Country Soul Years," the second CD in the box set, shows how the two genres overlapped during the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. R&B fans will feel quite at home with this disc (the producers of the box set would do an incredible service to release this one also as a separate CD). It features several familiar covers of country songs by R&B artists. The excellent liner notes were particularly helpful for this CD. For example, prior to purchasing this collection, I didn't know that "Misty Blue" was actually a country hit for both Wilma Burgess and Eddy Arnold, long before Dorothy Moore had a big Pop and R&B hit with the song in mid-1970's. The third CD (entitled "Forward with Pride"), features four songs by Charley Pride. This CD features country covers of "Color Him Father" by Linda Martell (an earlier hit for the Winstons) and "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You" by O.B. McClinton (an earlier hit for Wilson Pickett). Other standouts are the three Stoney Edwards tracks (including his pre-George Jones version of "She's My Rock") and Professor Longhair's version of the Hank williams song, "Jambalaya." Also of note is the powerful Ted Hawkins version of the Webb Pierce song, "There Stands the Glass." If you don't think you like country music, this collection might change your mind. It certainly encouraged me to expand my country music library. At the very least, it'll broaden your view of the genre. Additionally, fans of the blues (or any lyric-based musical form, including reggae), will find much to savor in this collection. Not just in the recordings, but in the copious liner notes which include interviews with artists and anecdotes. Included is an amusing quote by jazz legend Charlie Parker, a big country music fan. When asked by a brave jazz man, "How can you stand that stuff?" Parker replied, "The stories, man. Listen to the stories!" And there are plenty of them in this collection."