From the rockabilly singer who launched the "historical ballad" craze of the late 1950s and 1960s comes 16 unforgettable hits.
Though it was relatively short, Johnny Horton's career may have been too broad based to make a bare-bones package like this work, but it sure comes close. Horton is best known for the saga songs ("The Battle of New Orleans," "Sink the Bismark") he scored with when Nashville latched onto the early-'60s folk revival. But the rockabilly set often claims him for the heated trucker's romp "I'm Coming Home," and his first hit was an uptown arrangement of the relaxed, swaying "Honky-Tonk Man." The main thing binding all his material was his smooth, flexible voice, which could go from a low, light growl to a high hic. It was also smooth enough that Horton could make the countryest material sound pop when he wanted to. This isn't the best introduction to his glory days, but it ain't bad. --John Morthland