Hillbilly Blues: 1928-1946
Country music began life as the white man's version of the blues. Termed "hillbilly music" until the early '50s, country embraced blues' form and themes, a template it continues to follow today, albeit dressed up in slicker clothes. It's still all about the hazards of love and the struggle to survive and find a good time in a world growing increasingly difficult. Hillbilly Blues kicks off with the classic Jimmie Rodgers recording of "Blue Yodel" and continues on through some two-dozen early blues tracks, including the gently swinging "That's All" by Merle Travis, a not-yet-quite-bluegrass "Blue Yodel # 4" by Bill Monroe and the odd-sounding vocal and guitar combination of Darby & Tarlton. An early Chet Atkins instrumental, "Guitar Blues," reveals the accomplished style and skill that defined his whole career as a guitarist. Remastered from old 78s, the sound quality is surprisingly good. This is recommended for those interested in the roots of country.