- Audio CD (February 3, 1998)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Box set
- Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
- Label: Warner/Reprise Cntry Adv
- ASIN: B000002NBV
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,400 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
From Where I Stand: The Black Experience In Country Music
Audio CD | Box Set
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Audio CD, Box set, February 3, 1998
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
It painstakingly explores the stylistic interplay between country and blues and folk, highlighting such groundbreakers as Grand Ole Opry harmonica master DeFord Bailey, soul man Ray Charles (who made two albums of country songs in the '60s), and Nashville star O.B. McClinton. . . . -- Entertainment Weekly
Obsessed with farm, family, religion, alcohol, and movin' on, this collection of songs--all credited to black performers--documents the gray areas wherein two rural cultures collide.... [A] lot of From Where I Stand: [The Black Experience in Country Music] is black drawing on white drawing on black.... Not every jump-blueser or Motowner covering Hank or Willie on these discs adapts naturally to country's sway. But certain superstars--Al Green, Fats Domino, and, most famously, Ray Charles--do surprisingly well on this very complete boxed set.... -- Vibe
The black roots of American pop music are nowhere more visible than they are at the base of the country idiom. This entertaining three-CD set artfully reflects that relationship with an array of performances by black musicians.... The collection also cleverly shows the cross-pollination of white musicians influencing black. -- People
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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.
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