Country's 20 Classic Gospel Songs Of The Century

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When country musicians made their first recordings and radio broadcasts in the early 1920s, they drew upon a rich musical tapestry interweaving many American traditions. Among these traditions were folk songs, ballads, and fiddle tunes from both Anglo-American and African-American sources, passed down through oral tradition over the generations. Tent shows and vaudeville troupes carried this music, along with songs penned by professional Tin Pan Alley tunesmiths, into small towns and rural areas. As the twentieth century progressed, full-time musicians began to take blues, ragtime, and jazz from their folk roots into the world of commercial entertainment, thus giving early country professionals additional resources at their disposal. Each song in this collection has been widely embraced by country music audiences. Each is performed by a major country act, and each performance meets the highest musical standards. What’s more, this compilation virtually spans the history of country music as a commercial art form, and it voices a broad range of themes, messages, and moods reflecting the complex nature of life and of mankind’s relationship to the divine. Although these recordings are not the only ones that fit these criteria, they do represent the cream of the crop, and each is unquestionably a twentieth-century classic. This collection presents these songs in a roughly chronological order that takes the listener on a journey into history, but the primary intent is to create an enjoyable—and meaningful—musical experience.

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