Album Info

October 12, 1999
Sony Music Distribution
Country, Traditional Country, Cowboy, Country-Pop, Contemporary Country, Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan, Bluegrass, Singer/Songwriter, Honky Tonk, Old-Timey, Outlaw Country, Neo-Traditionalist Country

Album Review

Even when isolated from the gargantuan 26-disc box set Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century, the 51-track Country: The American Tradition is impressive. Columbia was one of the biggest labels in the early days of the record industry, as is evident from the beginning of this collection, which features cuts by Fiddlin' John Carson, Charlie Poole, Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers, and the Carter Family. What's more impressive is that the label -- and later, its subsidiaries -- captured the sound of each era. A glance at the featured artists -- Gene Autry, Bob Wills, Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, the Byrds, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, and the Dixie Chicks are among them -- gives a sense of not only how the label developed, but how country music did as well. Some major artists are missing -- they didn't sign everyone, after all -- as are some trends, but the overall effect is overwhelming. This set traces the history of country music in the 20th century, offering a terrific educational experience while also being entertaining. It's a feat that's difficult to pull off, let alone by concentrating on one group of labels, which is why it's all the more impressive.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane
  2. Cindy in the Meadows
  3. Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues
  4. Soldier's Joy
  5. Lafayette (Allons a Lafayette)
  6. Lovesick Blues
  7. Hobo's Lullaby
  8. Can the Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye)
  9. I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart
  10. Great Speckled Bird
  11. A Beautiful Life
  12. Song of the Bandit
  13. Orange Blossom Special
  14. Back in the Saddle Again
  15. New San Antonio Rose
  16. Born to Lose
  17. Pistol Packin' Mama
  18. Blue Moon of Kentucky
  19. Slipping Around
  20. The Fields Have Turned Brown
  21. Hillbilly Fever
  22. Always Late (With Your Kisses)
  23. Loose Talk
  24. Crazy Arms
  25. Hop, Skip and Jump
  26. The Battle of New Orleans
  27. El Paso
  28. Big Bad John
  29. Ring of Fire
  30. Flowers on the Wall
  31. Foggy Mountain Breakdown
  32. Almost Persuaded
  33. Hickory Wind
  34. Stand by Your Man
  35. Rose Garden
  36. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
  37. Behind Closed Doors
  38. Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)
  39. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
  40. Golden Ring
  41. Take This Job and Shove It
  42. The Devil Went Down to Georgia
  43. He Stopped Loving Her Today
  44. Seven Year Ache
  45. Crying My Heart Out over You
  46. Pancho and Lefty
  47. I Couldn't Leave You If I Tried
  48. He Thinks He'll Keep Her
  49. How Can I Help You Say Goodbye
  50. Third Rock from the Sun
  51. Wide Open Spaces