Early Years: 1951-1959 is a four-disc box set that presents all of Reno & Smiley & the Tennessee Cutups' recordings for King Records in chronological order, as well as four sides they recorded for Federal as supporting musicians for Tommy Magness. The set contains many of Reno & Smiley's finest and most influential moments, most of which feature the support of bassist John Palmer and fiddler Mack MaGaha. As a historical recording, Early Years: 1951-59 is invaluable, since it documents the greatest recordings from one of the best bluegrass groups in history. However, it is difficult listen -- this is educational listening, and is not intended for entertainment. For musicologists and dedicated fans, it's a necessary purchase, but country and bluegrass fans intending to build a basic bluegrass collection don't need to purchase this set.