Portrait of An American Singer[CD]
Graduating from radio personality to singles artist by the late '40s, Tennessee Ernie Ford started off his long career presaging rock 'n' roll with his county boogie cuts, then split his time between country smashes, pop hits and widely loved gospel performances (not to mention albums of patriotic songs and folk tunes). The 120-page hardcover book you'll find here utilizes newly written essays, track-by-track album notes and rare photos to walk us through the early days and prime years of this great American entertainer. The nearly 400 minutes of music (154 tracks) present all the secular-themed recordings from his first dozen years as a recording artist, when he emerged as one of the most fabulously successful crossover stars in the land. We begin with early hits like "Mule Train; Anticipation Blues; Country Junction; Smokey Mountain Boogie; Tennessee Border; The Cry of the Wild Goose; Mister and Mississippi", and the pioneering hillbilly boogie hit "The Shot Gun Boogie•, plus his first crossover strike, "I'll Never Be Free" (with Kay Starr). Further into the '50s we go from there: "Rock City Boogie" (with the Dinning Sisters); "Blackberry Boogie", and other classics plus overlooked delights like the train song " Tennessee Local"; his 1952 spin on Willie Mabon's R&B favorite "I Don't Know", and more. In the rarities department, we have two previously unreleased songs ("Slow Down; Small World"); singles and album tracks never before on CD; Ford's 1955 recitations of Davy Crockett tales; 1958 PSAs to promote the "Toys for Tots" program, and more. This sweeping set encourages us to marvel at the repertoire range, prolific recording output and lasting influence of the one and only Tennessee Ernie! Bear Family.
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