VARIOUS ARTISTS 'At The Louisiana Hayride Tonight' (20CDs) BCD-17370
From 1948 to 1960, the Louisiana Hayride served as a launching pad for many of the greatest stars in country music, with artists such as Hank Williams, Jim Reeves, and Johnny Cash appearing on the powerful radio airwaves of KWKH AM 1130 in Shreveport, Louisiana. In addition to those artists -- who later found their fame and fortune in Nashville -- the show also proved to be beneficial to a truck driver from Memphis named Elvis Presley who was told by Grand Ole Opry management not to give up his day job. Those artists and others like them made country music history, but for the most part, many of those Hayride performances haven't been heard since their initial broadcast.
Thanks to Bear Family Records, music aficionados now have the chance to hear a little bit of history with the release of the expansive 20-CD set titled At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight. The box contains a staggering 559 cuts, with many rarities, including:
An unreleased recording of Hank Williams performing "I'm A Long Gone Daddy".
11 'as live' studio-recorded transcriptions, including Kitty Wells, Johnnie and Jack, Hank Williams, and Curley Williams.
Live performances from many of country music's most colorful characters, including Cousin Emmy, Bill Carlisle, Faron Young, and George Jones, who is featured on several cuts, including a performance of his 1955 career breakthrough "Why Baby Why".
Live commercial ads that appeared on the original broadcasts, including future superstar Johnny Cash plugging Southern Maid Donuts as the 'best in the world'.
The set is the largest country collection ever released by Bear Family, which has released career overviews from artists such as Buck Owens, The Osborne Brothers, and Connie Smith. Martin Hawkins, who co-produced the set, says that if you are used to the high level of excellence of Bear Family releases, you won't be disappointed.