Country Love Songs [Sony Triple Disc]
Wow, there are just so many great songs on Sony's Country Love Songs collection, so many. Sure, the name of this triple-disc, 40-song compilation is awfully mundane -- if you tried, you couldn't count on three hands the number of generic collections sharing this same title over the years -- but its contents are far from mundane. For this well-rounded release, Sony's Custom Marketing Group rummaged through its deep vault, digging as far back as 1963 to come up with an astounding lineup of mostly huge hits that span four decades (the most recent inclusion dating from 2002). Consequently, the lineup also spans numerous stylistic changes -- beginning with some vintage Johnny Cash ("Ring of Fire," "If I Were a Carpenter"), then moving on to prime-era Nashville countrypolitan (Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," George Jones' "A Picture of Me [Without You]," Barbara Mandrell's "Tonight My Baby's Coming Home") before offering up some especially peppy urban cowboy hits from the early-to-mid-'80s (Ricky Skaggs' "Love Can't Ever Get Better Than This," Charly McClain's "Paradise Tonight," Ronnie McDowell's "You're Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation") along with some adult contemporary ballads from that same era (Tammy Wynette's "Sometimes When We Touch," Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind," Rosanne Cash's "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me") and finally some boot-scootin' contemporary country (Patty Loveless' "Blame It on Your Heart," Travis Tritt's "Love of a Woman," Dolly Parton's "Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That"). The songs are divided up into three discs -- "Country Men," "Country Duets," "Country Women" -- and are chronologically mixed well. Practically every song is a highlight, regardless of its era or style. That makes these discs not only a delightful listen, especially for those of you hopeless romantics who enjoy a good love song (or, better yet, 40 of them), but also a historical study, especially for those of you laddies and damsels who aren't too familiar with the vintage inclusions. A great collection that sticks to its theme without short-changing you one cent, Sony's triple-disc Country Love Songs is the all-too-rare collection of this sort that actually understates itself. These here aren't just country love songs, they're great country love songs!