Singer -- The Songwriter: 1949-1960

The Singer -- The Songwriter: 1949-1960

by Don Gibson
The 11 years covered in this first of two Don Gibson retrospectives by the German Bear Family label are the most captivating in his career. Beginning in 1949, Gibson began recording as part of the hillbilly jump band Sons of the Soil for Mercury. From the moment Gibson's lead vocal comes through the mix it is evident that even if he wasn't writing a lot of songs at


The 11 years covered in this first of two Don Gibson retrospectives by the German Bear Family label are the most captivating in his career. Beginning in 1949, Gibson began recording as part of the hillbilly jump band Sons of the Soil for Mercury. From the moment Gibson's lead vocal comes through the mix it is evident that even if he wasn't writing a lot of songs at the time, he was performing them as if they were his. Early on he issued four tracks, including the underground classic "Automatic Mama," a rockabilly prototype. A year later, Gibson & His King Cotton Kingfolks were at RCA working with Stephen Sholes and they issued eight sides that offered a more complex version of the Sons' style of country, bluegrass, and pop, with just a shade of jump thrown in. In 1952, Gibson moved to Columbia as a solo artist and recorded with Don Law and Troy Martin, and guitarist Chet Atkins, which is where his mature voice began to take shape, as evidenced by his first songwriting credit, "No Shoulder to Cry On," and a smoking version of Johnnie Masters' "Walkin' in the Moonlight." His chart success was evident, too, placing tracks steadily in the Top 40 of Billboard's country chart In 1955 Gibson moved again to MGM, where he recorded his first true smash and a bona fide country music classic: "Sweet Dreams." Yet it wasn't until he returned to RCA in 1957 that Gibson made of himself a living legend in recording arguably the greatest two-sided single ever issued in the history of the genre: "Oh, Lonesome Me" b/w "I Can't Stop Loving You," which sold not only for him, but was redefined by Ray Charles on his legendary Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music album. The late MGM period and his reunion with RCA is exhaustively documented here with alternate and unissued takes as well as unreleased tracks. Gibson was fortunate enough to be a big enough star when players like Floyd Cramer, Atkins, Rusty Kershaw, Buddy Harman, and Bob Moore were redefining the Nashville studio sound. The gospel tracks here -- from the albums No One Stands Alone and That Gibson Boy, as well as Sweet Dreams, which he re-recorded three more times before the end of 1960 -- were all so far above the bar artistically that it was difficult for critics to define Gibson, hence his crossover into the pop world where he influenced a young Gram Parsons among many others. In all there are 122 tracks on this four-CD set, and a fine booklet that offers exhaustive and accurate track information and a fine biographical essay. The sound is fine and the packaging, like all of German Bear Family's boxes, is exquisite. But it's in the music that the truth of Gibson's legend is borne out and on CDs two and three are where the songwriter finally eclipses the singer, though the singer remains a force of nature capable of interpreting any song in a personal and original way; just check out Gibson's read of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On." This is essential for serious fans of the legendary music and for any Gibson collector because of its wealth of previously uncollected material. Volume two focuses on the years 1961 to 1968 and contains more gems, but this is the defining one.

Product Details

Release Date:
Bear Family


Disc 1

  1. I Lost My Love (The Color Song)
  2. Why Am I So Lonely?
  3. Automatic Mama
  4. Cloudy Skies
  5. I Love No One But You
  6. Carolina Breakdown
  7. Roses Are Red
  8. Wiggle Wag
  9. Dark Future
  10. Just Let Me Love You
  11. A Blue Million Tears
  12. Red Lips, White Lies and Blue Future
  13. Sample Kisses
  14. No Shoulder to Cry On
  15. Let Me Stay in Your Arms
  16. We're Stepping out Tonight
  17. Waitin' Down the Road
  18. Walkin' in the Moonlight
  19. I Just Love the Way You Tell a Lie
  20. You Cast Me out (Forevermore)
  21. Symptoms of Love
  22. Selfish with Your Kisses
  23. Ice Could Heart
  24. Many Times I've Waited
  25. The Road of Life Alone
  26. Run Boy
  27. Sweet Dreams
  28. I Must Forget You

Disc 2

  1. Ah-Ha
  2. It Happens Everytime
  3. I Ain't Gonna Waste My Time
  4. I Ain't A-Studyin' You, Baby
  5. I'm Gonna Fool Everybody
  6. I Believed in You
  7. What a Fool I Was to Fall (For You)
  8. You're the Only One for Me
  9. I Love You Still
  10. Everything Turns out for the Best
  11. I Can't Leave
  12. Sittin' Here Cryin'
  13. Too Soon to Know
  14. Pretty Rainbow
  15. Blue Blue Day
  16. Tell It Like It Is
  17. Oh, Lonesome Me
  18. I Can't Stop Loving You
  19. Tell It Like It Is
  20. It Has to Be
  21. Give Myself a Party
  22. Look Who's Blue
  23. Bad Bad Day
  24. I Can't Leave
  25. Take Me as I Am (Or Let Me Go)
  26. Heartbreak Avenue
  27. We Could
  28. If You Don't Know It
  29. Sweet, Sweet Girl
  30. Blues in My Heart
  31. Give Myself a Party

Disc 3

  1. Taller Than Trees
  2. Satisfied
  3. Wait for the Light to Shine
  4. Canaan's Land
  5. (Prayer Is the Key to Heaven) Faith Unlocks the Door
  6. Evening Prayer
  7. Lord I Am Coming Home
  8. Satisfied
  9. Climbing up the Mountain
  10. Where No One Stands Alone
  11. Known Only to Him
  12. My God Is Real
  13. That Lonesome Valley
  14. Who Cares (For Me)
  15. When Will This Ever End
  16. Sweet, Sweet Girl
  17. A Stranger to Me
  18. Won't Cha Come Back to Me
  19. A Stranger to Me
  20. As Much
  21. Who Cares (For Me)
  22. I Wish It Had Been a Dream
  23. Ages and Ages Ago
  24. Even Tho'
  25. Didn't Work Out, Did It?
  26. It's My Way
  27. Almost
  28. Do You Think
  29. Foggy River
  30. Midnight
  31. Lonesome Old House

Disc 4

  1. Don't Tell Me Your Troubles
  2. I Couldn't Care Less
  3. Don't Tell Me Your Troubles
  4. Heartbreak Avenue
  5. Big Hearted Me
  6. Maybe Tomorrow
  7. Everybody But Me
  8. I've Movin' On
  9. Just One Time
  10. I May Never Get to Heaven
  11. Lonely Street
  12. On the Banks of the Old Ponchartrain
  13. Why Don't You Love Me
  14. If I Can Stay Away Long Enough
  15. Never Love Again
  16. The Streets of Laredo
  17. My Love for You
  18. My Hands Are Tied
  19. It Only Hurts for a Little While
  20. (I'd Be) Be a Legend in My Time
  21. Far Far Away
  22. Foolish Me
  23. My Tears Don't Show
  24. The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
  25. What About Me
  26. The Next Voice You Hear
  27. Hurtin' Inside
  28. Sweet Dreams
  29. Time Hurts (As Well as It Heals)
  30. What's the Reason I'm Not Pleasing You
  31. Sweet Dreams
  32. The Same Street

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Don Gibson   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Chet Atkins   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Floyd Cramer   Piano
Hank Garland   Guitar
Jordanaires   Choir, Chorus
Jimmie Lunceford   Fiddle
Anita Kerr   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jimmy Day   Steel Guitar
Grady Martin   Guitar
Rusty Kershaw   Guitar
Anita Kerr Singers   Choir, Chorus
Brenton Banks   Organ
Ray Edenton   Guitar
Buddy Harman   Drums,Tambourine
Hoyt Hawkins   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Eddie Hill   Guitar
Roy M. "Junior" Husky   Bass
Tommy Jackson   Fiddle
Hugh Jarrett   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Douglas Kirkham   Drums
Millie Kirkham   Choir, Chorus
Neal Matthews   Choir, Chorus
Ernest Ernie Newton   Bass
Louis Dean Nunley   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jimmy Riddle   Harmonica
Jerry Rivers   Fiddle
Velma Smith   Guitar
Leonard Sutton   Guitar
Marijohn Wilkin   Choir, Chorus
Joe Zinkan   Bass
Dorothy Ann Dillard   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
J.C. "Cleo" Davis   Fiddle
Culley Holt   Choir, Chorus
Bob Moore   Bass
Jack Shook   Guitar
Hugh Gordon Stoker   Choir, Chorus
Henry Newton "Tommy" Vaden   Fiddle
Luke Brandon   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Troy M. Hatcher   Drums
Summie L. Hendrick   Steel Guitar
Autry Inman   Guitar,Leader
Walter Lenk   Drums
James "Jimmie" Selph   Guitar
Marion Sumner   Fiddle,Guitar
Ray C. Walker   Choir, Chorus
Loren Otis Shook   Guitar
Walter Garland   Guitar
English P. Jr. "Jake" Tullock   Bass
William Guilford Wright   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Marvin H. Hughes   Piano
Neal Matthews   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
D.C. Addis   Guitar
P.C. Destazio   Bass
Blackie Lunceford   Fiddle
Hal D. Peeler   Guitar
Howard Sisk   Guitar,Vocals
Velma E. Williams Smith   Guitar
"Papa" John Gordy   Piano
James Barber   Fiddle
Robert Foster   Steel Guitar
Bill Kirby   Bass
Milton Scarborough   Accordion,Vocals
Harold Harper   Guitar
H.F. Davis   Banjo
Jim Barber   Fiddle,Vocals
Russell Lee "Rusty" Kershaw   Guitar
Howard Osmond Jr. White   Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Bill Monroe   Contributor
Doug Kershaw   Composer
Bill Anderson   Composer
Chet Atkins   Composer,Producer
Gene Autry   Composer
Don Gibson   Composer,Illustrations,Quotes Researched & Compiled
Benny Martin   Composer
Hank Snow   Composer
Sue Thompson   Contributor
Brook Benton   Composer
Roy Orbison   Contributor
Jimmie Grier   Composer
Roy Drusky   Composer
Don Everly   Contributor
Teddy Randazzo   Composer
Rusty Kershaw   Composer
Howard White   Illustrations
Índios Tabajaras   Contributor
Martha Carson   Composer
Carl Belew   Composer
Carl Butler   Composer
Frank Abbey   Disc Dub
Anita Kerr Singers   Vocal Group
Dave Burgess   Composer
Mel Foree   Composer
Willie Jones   Composer
Bob Jones   Disc Dub
Buddy Killen   Composer
Don Law   Producer
Ira Louvin   Composer
Charlie Louvin   Composer
Murray Nash   Producer
Clyde Otis   Composer
Webb Pierce   Composer
Fred Rose   Composer
Wesley Rose   Producer
Steve Sholes   Producer
Wayne Walker   Composer
Mark Wilder   Tape Research
Hank Williams   Composer
Roy Huskey   Composer
Stephen H. Sholes   Producer
C. Walker   Composer
Otto Kitsinger   Illustrations
Summie L. Hendrick   Composer
Troy Martin   Producer
Dave Rich   Composer
Dale Vinicur   Liner Notes,Biographical Information
Charles Wolfe   Liner Notes,Biographical Information
Bruce Hailstalk   Tape Research
Hoffman Nienburg   Artwork,Art Direction
Hoffmann Nienburg   Artwork
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Richard Weize   Producer,Reissue Producer,Discographical Annotation,Tape Research,Biographical Information
Gerd Weiler   Artwork
Joe de Priest   Illustrations
Pinky Tomlin   Composer
W.S. Stevenson   Composer
Tennessean   Illustrations
Samuel Scott   Composer
Tom A. LeMay   Composer
Eugene Lockhart   Composer
Mack David   Composer
Vic McAlpin   Composer
Ernest Seitz   Composer
Kenny Sowder   Composer
Fred Spielman   Composer
Jack Toombs   Composer
Cirino Colacrai   Composer
Lee Emerson   Composer
Ramona Vincent   Composer
Earl Hatch   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Sylke Lohmeyer   Artwork
Ned Costner   Contributor
Velvedere "Doc" Whitmire   Contributor
Coy Poe   Composer
Billy Roberts   Contributor

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