Home > Country History > A History of Country Vol. 18: 1990-95

A History of Country Vol. 18: 1990-95

Country music enjoyed a commercial boom in the 1900s, in particular that strand spearheaded by George Strait and Ricky Skaggs. Superstars such Alan Jackson and Vince Gill would give them credit for their success, as would the biggest star of them all: Garth Brooks. Clean cut and black cowboy-hatted, the Oklahoma native sold 12 million copies of his first three albums and more than 100 million up to his semi-retirement in 2001. He was the first country star to enter the Billboard album charts at #1, with 1991’s Ropin’ The Wind. His extravagant concerts filled stadiums. Country had had superstars before, but Brooks arguably was the genre’s first megastar.

Brooks’ crossover appeal helped many other invariably stetsoned honky tonk performers — Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Vince Gill, Travis Tritt, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, (Kix) Brooks & (Ronnie) Dunn — expand their commercial appeal. It wasn’t just the behatted dudes who attained superstar status in the 1990s; women like Trisha Yearwood (later Garth Brooks wife), Faith Hill (later McGraw’s wife), Martina McBride and the Dixie Chicks crossed over, while ’80s stalwarts Wynonna Judd and Reba McIntyre continued to enjoy success.

Artists such as these might have traced their influence back to country’s traditions, to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, fiddle and pedal steel, but their commercial lucrativity set mainstream country on a course of selling out. The worst excess of that came early with Billy Ray Cyrus 1991 novelty hit Achy Breaky Heart (a cover of The Marcy Brothers’ original), with its choreographed line dance and Miley’s dad chest-hair revealing vest. Country singers rightly feared that Cyrus’ hit would undermine country’s integrity and credibility, much as ubiquity and novelty cash-ins had damaged disco.

Few things as bad as Achy Breaky Heart would taint country music’s name (though Toby Keith’s post-9/11 song did so on another level), but the record companies would now push singers who were more pop than country, such as Shania Twain and the teenage LeAnn Rimes. Slowly, country format radio purged all but the commercially successful from their playlists. This reached bizarre proportions when one programme director demanded that Patty Loveless’ 1997 song You Don’t Seem To Miss Me be remixed to remove George Jones’ harmonies. Loveless refused to allow this, and the single stalled.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R; homespun covers are included

TRACKLISTING:
1. George Jones & Randy Travis – A Few Ole Country Boys
2. Garth Brooks – Friends In Low Places
3. Randy Travis – Heroes and Friends
4. Patty Loveless – Chains
5. Alan Jackson – Here In The Real World
6. Travis Tritt – Help Me Hold On
7. Dolly Parton & Ricky Van Shelton – Rockin’ Years
8. Tanya Tucker – If Your Heart Ain’t Busy Tonight
9. Collin Raye – Love, Me
10. John Prine – All The Best
11. Emmylou Harris – If I Could Be There
12. Alison Krauss & Union Station – Every Time You Say Goodbye
13. Wynonna Judd – I Saw The Light In Your Window Tonight
14. Marty Stuart – Now That’s Country
15. John Michael Montgomery – I Love The Way You Love
16. Dwight Yoakam – Ain’t That Lonely Yet
17. Reba McEntire – The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
18. Mary Chapin Carpenter – I Take My Chances
19. Lyle Lovett – Just The Morning
20. Son Volt – Mystifies Me
21. Johnny Cash – The Beast In Me
22. The Highwaymen – Songs That Made A Difference

GET IT!

(PW in comments)

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Previously in A History of Country
More CD-mixes

 

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  1. halfhearteddude
    May 31st, 2012 at 06:23 | #1

    amdwhah

  2. bostig
    May 31st, 2012 at 09:00 | #2

    A large thanks. Looking forward to listen.

  3. Peerke
    May 31st, 2012 at 09:39 | #3

    Fantastic, as always.

  4. GK4
    May 31st, 2012 at 21:51 | #4

    Thanks for this, and the series. It has been very educational.

    In the first sentence in this post, do you mean “a commercial boom in the 1990’s”?

    Also, I’m glad to see we’re starting to get into the “alternative” artists. It was in the mid-90’s, I think, that I first heard and heard about alt-country, and I look forward to seeing your take on it.

  5. halfhearteddude
    May 31st, 2012 at 22:24 | #5

    Ah, thanks for the kind words and the gentle sub-editing. Clearly I did some tinkering with that first sentence.

  6. lugworm
    June 1st, 2012 at 08:32 | #6

    Again an excellent post for which I thank you.

  7. Martin Luther Presley
    June 2nd, 2012 at 14:14 | #7

    Thanks a lot for another great entry in this wonderful series! Surprised to see Son Volt’s Ron Wood cover instead of Windshield! Still great though!

  8. AX
    June 2nd, 2012 at 18:48 | #8

    There are really great country music compilations but i cant understand where is alternative/neotrad country, cowpunk and other stuff?

  9. el bandito
    August 9th, 2012 at 20:51 | #9

    any chance of a re-up – this link is dead —GREAT series!

  10. Andy
    September 8th, 2012 at 03:51 | #10

    Can you put it up on MirrorCreator? Looks like Mediafire slit your throat as they have to so many others.

  11. halfhearteddude
    September 8th, 2012 at 09:41 | #11

    I’ll re-up the whole series next week. Pity that Mediafire is no longer an option.

  12. Andy
    September 11th, 2012 at 04:04 | #12

    I hate to suggest it but passwords may prolong the retention times of your files. All the file hosts are checking files these days. One person I know RARs his files with a password then RARs again with a second password. 7-Zip encrypts files with a password.

    Hosters are encouraged to check files to avoid harassment by Hollywood and others but they don’t necessarily need to be 100 percent compliant. If you make it difficult for them they will skip over your files and go for the low hanging fruit. They get thousands of files every day, and missing your files means they only looked at 99.999999 percent of their files.

    I thought that file hosts in other countries would be free from FBI raids but almost all are monitoring content or imposing prohibitive rules. Rapidshare swore that the US couldn’t touch them but they’re still making things difficult. Hollywood just applies pressure to similar organizations in other countries like IFPA and SABAM that have jurisdiction. I thought the Russians would hold out but they refused service to American IPs instead.

    Mirror Creator seems to try hard to find new file hosts as others drop out. I hate their interface that requires you to go through three windows to download a file, but I’ve found them to be the best of the host aggregators.

  13. halfhearteddude
    September 11th, 2012 at 07:19 | #13

    That is a good idea, thanks.

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