Growing up as one of 11 children of a strict sharecropper, Pride learned early that life was a struggle. His first escape was baseball, where he shone for a number of Negro league and semipro teams. After abortive tryouts with professional teams in the early 1960s, he worked for a smelting company in Montana. An encounter with country legend Red Foley was enough to convince Pride to give Nashville a try. While the country music establishment was never quite sure of what to make of this black man singing what they considered white man's music, his 36 number-one country hits proved him worthy of acceptance. Unlike his hero, Jackie Robinson, Pride was not in the vanguard as an African American country artist, and he remains an anomaly nearly 30 years after his first record. Recommended for popular music collections.-- Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.