Dwight Yoakam didn't need a box set to remind us he was kicking ass and taking names even before he signed with Warner Bros. in 1985. But with the four-disc extravaganza Reprise Please Baby: The Warner Bros. Years -- featuring over two dozen previously unreleased tracks -- Yoakam dazzles with his staggering artistry and infallible command of all things country -- and then some. Three of the discs collect tracks from his catalog (as well as cuts he's contributed to other artists' projects), a batch of material that handily proves Yoakam's genius when it comes to adapting traditional sensibilities to contemporary styles. Acknowledged as the foremost contemporary purveyor of the hard-edged Bakersfield sound pioneered by his heroes Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, Yoakam (and longtime producer/guitarist Pete Anderson) has found touchstones in pop (Sonny & Cher's "Baby Don't Go," for one, here done as a duet with Sheryl Crow), punk (the Clash's "Train in Vain"), Texas boogie (ZZ Top's "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide"), and rock (Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me," done to white-hot perfection). Yoakam's evolution as a songwriter is also well-chronicled here, on his own, as a collaborator, and in his transcendent partnership with Anderson. That last relationship receives an unexpected spotlight on the fourth disc, a selection of 21 previously unreleased recordings, 10 of which predate Anderson's 1981 appearance on the scene. The disc's early take on "You're the One," done as a slow, tearjerking lament, stands in stark contrast to the ferocious, Anderson-assisted version (heard on disc 1) that scalded both the country and pop charts a decade later. In addition, there are enough new recordings (three) and previously unissued live and studio tracks (including two stunning duets with Kelly Willis, on the George Jones-Tammy Wynette classic "Golden Ring" and on Jones's "Take Me") to comprise an entire new Dwight Yoakam album in the midst of this breathtaking retrospective. Reprise Please Baby is not only this year's most vibrant and essential box set, it's one of the all-time great ones.
Reprise Please Baby: The Warner Bros. Years 4.5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
In the words of Chris Hillman, "Dwight Yoakum is the Gram Parsons that worked.."This 4-cd set spans the career of the artist all the way from "Guitars, Cadillacs",to present.The 4th disc is all previously unissued material that features a smoking live version of The Dead's "Truckin", and a nice acoustic version of "You're the One".Dwight Yoakum is quite simply, the purest pure country singer in the business today, and if you listen to this set from beginning to end,you'll believe it. From the Allman Brothers feel of "Free to Go, to the blistering rockabilly of "Sitting Pretty" this set is a nice bonus for the hardcore fan, and a must if you're just mildly interested.Those looking for the slick, schmaltzy,radio-friendly country music of today need not apply.Get ready to rumble on this one, folks. Damn this guy's good.
More than 1 year ago
This box set is great. It's got all my favorite Dwight songs on it. I love country music. I also like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. I have lots of country cds. That's what I listen to in the car, is country. If I get the chance, I listen to the radio at work. I work out at the gym after work, but of course you aren't gonna hear country at the gym. At least not where I live (which is the Detroit area). I need to get some new country cds because I like it so much. I want to learn how to play country guitar, but I don't have time because of softball. I hope that I get to see Dwight in concert when he comes around again.