12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2001
What can I say? This two disc set inspired by the "Beyond Nashville" festival was a true experience for me, I always associated American Country Music with the likes of Dolly Parton (and others who I find so scary they'll have to remain nameless!)A fabulous journey that takes the listener "Beyond Nashville" historically, geographically and musically. The two disc set is arranged by recording age with the "oldies" on disc one and the "young things" on disc two, hours of bliss. Its great to dance madly around the room to or to just lie back and listen to!
P.S.Buy it, Buy it now!! You'll regret it forever if you miss out on Jim White's "Handcuffed to a fence in Mississippi"!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2002
This is an exceedingly good introduction to all those of us who thought that country music was restricted to blankets on the ground and D.I.V.O.R.C.E. The chronological approach clearly demonstrates that there has always been 'alt-country'. Indeed, the royal familay of country music, The Carter Family have been peddling high quality music from at least the thirties.
The first CD is very good, but the second is excellent. I'd not heard of many of these artists before, but I sought them out and am now happy to have albums by 'The Handsome Family' in particular in my collection.
There is so much heart in nearly all these tracks, but the soul of some of them is dark, to say the least.
This is what country music is all about, the inclusion of a less well known Johnny Cash track exemplifies the depth of variation that is possible under the umbrella description of country. There is life outside of Nashville, but not as we know it, and nary a sign of a rhinestone or dodgy stetson.
Treat yourself to something different, you won't be dissappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
There was a small rash of albums like this in the early naughties. You rather got the impression that someone in the creative area of one of the majors had woken up to the fact there was a "new thing" around in music called alternative country and that perhaps they could make some money out of it. The "new thing" had in fact been round for quite a long time but I don't intend to delve too much into history here. This album was one of the best of the bunch and, in fact it came from an indie - well I assume they are/were an indie, I couldn't find their website. CD 1 of the pair is devoted to a very rapid scamper through C&W, starting in 1931 and going up to 1974. CD 2 strangely isn't sequential - it's probably less important - but goes from 1994 to 2001 (that's ignoring the reprise of the Carter Family who appear on the penultimate track). By and large CD 2 is an overview of the alt-country scene as it stood in 2001. I should add that the title "Beyond Nashville" relates to a music festival held in London in 2001.
CD 1 kicks off with tracks from people who really are legends - these are the ones you occasionally hear about but rarely actually hear - people like Jimmy Rodgers, The Carter Family, Leadbelly, Bob Wills and so on - these are the people who largely created country music (and blues in the case of Leadblly). We move on to the 50's which old gits like me can actually remember. We don't actually get Elvis but we do get some related stuff - Junior Parker with "Mystery Train" and Carl Perkins with some good rockabilly in "Put your cat cloths on". Then, after one of the best tracks on the set, Johnny Cash and the Carter family doing "Were you there when they crucified my lord" - this is one of those hairs on the back of your neck ones - it's a sprint though the early days of country rock - the Byrds, Gram and like stuff, and after a quick "Nitty Gritty" from the Texan man-of-all-trades, Doug Sahm, we finish with the Flatlanders "Did you see Dallas from a DC9 at night", marvellous stuff complete with musical saw.
It's already evident that the compiler (Max Reinhardt) is very much his own man from some unexpected selections - there a Taj Mahal I didn't mention also a relatively obscure blue grass duo, Jim & Jesse.
With the odd exception CD 2 contains the names we would expect to see in an alt country collection from about a decade ago, Ryan Adams (excellent, but what's he done since?), Emmylou Harris (swampy but also excellent), Steve Earle (good bluegrass), Gillian Welch (classic, how does she do it?), Giant Sand (like it but why does Howe get lumped in with alt-country?), Lucinda Williams (more country than usual with pedal steel), Lambchop (bit super punk for me), Handsome Family (much more my scene), Alejandro Escovedo (one of his very best songs, another classic), Sparklehorse (lovely, shame Mark Linkous is no longer with us), Son Volt (that distinctive Farrar voice, nice one), Jim White (amazing man & he's still doing this stuff), Los Super Seven (these guys don't usually get included with alt-country but this slice of Mexico's beautiful - it's not a discovery since I've already got the album). I skipped a few in there including the Carter Family radio ad break and it's mex equivalent which is the segue into Los Super Seven.
So, an interesting selection. A lot of the artists selected by Reinhardt are still with us (in terms of popularity that is) so he seems to have gone for the ones with staying power. Worth buying now? Yes if the price is right and if you`re not already into many of these artists. I confess not to have listened to the set for some time but there are some excellent tracks in here - I haven't even mentioned "The bottle let me down" from Merle Haggard, predictable country maybe but very good.
I should add that the Notes are very good with a solid info. packed paragraph on each track, and there's also a plug for another country related collection "Are you Ready for the Country" on Warner. This one largely focuses on that period covered by the last third of CD 1 i.e. the early stirring of the baby we called country rock in the late 60's.
on 28 June 2011
I checked these out when I saw the ad in the Robert Johsnon Old School Blues set.
What I saw there looked like a joke
You get in 4 double CDs a mish mash of over exposed hits alongside some really suspicious stuff which is neither one thing nor the other.Country music is too broad a church to mess with and just misleads the newcomer
In ever increasing attempts to draw all musics together this fails misearbly.It proves nothing in the end and is a rather feeble attempt to "educate" those who think country music is of no importance
The sleeve notes leave a lot to be desired as the writer sees fit to trash the entire Nashville Sound and Countrypolitan areas.So that means Porter Wagoner,Patsy Cline,Jody Miller and Barbara Fairchild are of no importance
I think we all know country music didn't begin in Nashville anyway
1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2001
Disk 1 really worth quite a bit of the overall cost but I cannot see very much value in the material on the 2nd disk - just space filler in my opinion. If one is seeking some sort of balance to the major names, there are better tracks than those selected here.