From the Vault...


Various Artists
"From The Vaults: Decca Country Classics 1934-1973"

© MCA Records

Year of Release: 1994

track listing
Disc One:
  • Texas Plains--
    Stuart Hamblen &
    His Covered Wagon
  • Cattle Call--
    Tex Owens
  • Just Because--
    Shelton Brothers
  • Listen To The
    Curley Fox
  • The Eyes Of Texas--
    Milton Brown &
    His Brownies
  • My Dixie Darling--
    The Carter Family
  • La Bonne Valse--
    Leo Soileau's
    Rhythm Boys
  • The Last Letter--
    Rex Griffin
  • Bile Dem Cabbage
    Clayton McMichen's
    Georgia Wildcats
  • Short Life Of Trouble--
    Riley Puckett
  • Singing In The Saddle--
    Tex Ritter &
    His Texans
  • I'll Get Mine Bye And Bye
    No. 2--
    Buddy Jones
  • Sparkling Blue Eyes--
    Bill Carlisle's
    Kentucky Boy
  • Truck Driver's Blues--
    Cliff Bruner &
    His Boys
  • You Are My Sunshine--
    Jimmie Davis
    With Charles
    Mitchell's Orchestra
  • Cool Water--
    Sons Of
    The Pioneers
  • Walking The Floor
    Over You--
    Ernest Tubb
  • Milk Cow Blues--
    Johnny Lee Wills &
    His Boys
  • They Took The Stars
    Out Of Heaven--
    Floyd Tillman
  • Gospel Cannonball--
    Delmore Brothers

    Disc Two:
  • Ruby--
    Cousin Emmy &
    Her Kinfolk
  • Sugarfoot Rag--
    Hank Sugarfoot
  • Chattanoogie Shoe
    Shine Boy--
    Red Foley
  • Uncle Pen--
    Bill Monroe &
    His Blue Grass Boys
  • It Wasn't God Who
    Made Honky
    Tonk Angels--
    Kitty Wells
  • I Let The Stars
    Get In My Eyes--
    Goldie Hill
  • Crying In The Chapel--
    Rex Allen
  • Pork Chop Stomp--
    Grady Martin &
    His Winging Strings
  • I Gotta Go Get My Baby--
    Justin Tubb
  • Why Baby Why--
    Red Sovine &
    Webb Pierce
  • If Jesus Came To
    Your House--
    Red Sovine
  • Blue Days Black Nights--
    Buddy Holly
  • Fraulein--
    Bobby Helms
  • When--
    Kalin Twins
  • On This Mountain Top--
    Donny Young
    With Roger Miller
  • I Ain't Never--
    Webb Pierce
  • Another--
    Roy Drusky
  • I'm Sorry--
    Brenda Lee
  • Crazy Bullfrog--
    Lewis Pruitt
  • Little Bitty Tear--
    Burl Ives

    Disc Three:
  • Trouble's Back In Town--
    The Wilburn
  • Tennessee--
    Jimmy Martin
  • Still--
    Bill Anderson
  • Sweet Dreams--
    Patsy Cline
  • The Bridge Washed Out--
    Warner Mack
  • Hello Vietnam--
    Jimmy Wright
  • Put It Off Until
    Bill Phillips
  • Evil On Your Mind--
    Jan Howard
  • Misty Blue--
    Wilma Burgess
  • There Goes My
    Jack Greene
  • I Never Had
    The One I Wanted--
    Claude Gray
  • Louisiana
    Saturday Night--
    Jimmy Newman
  • Rocky Top--
    Osborne Brothers
  • Coal Miner's Daughter--
    Loretta Lynn
  • Hello Darlin'--
    Conway Twitty
  • Raggedy Ann--
    Jimmy Dickens
  • After The Fire Is Gone--
    Loretta Lynn &
    Conway Twitty
  • If You Leave Me Tonight
    I'll Cry--
    Jerry Wallace
  • The Lord Knows
    I'm Drinking--
    Cal Smith
  • This Much A Man--
    Marty Robbins

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    "From The Vaults: Decca Country Classics 1934-1973"

    Now, THIS is Early Country...

    This 3-CD set of Country music chronicles the Decca label, from the years 1934 to 1973. Decca Records would be a very popular and well-known label. From the start of Rock n Roll, Decca was home for Bill Haley & The Comets (as I had a few of their Decca 45s). I'm trying to remember the Decca label of 45s I had when I was young: Bill Haley was on the famous black Decca label, and in the 1960s and 1970s, the label changed to look like a bar of colors, as I had 45s on this new lookk artists such as Bobby Helms ("Jingle Bell Rock"), Earl Grant "Swingin' Gently" and numerous 45s by The Who, and Dobie Gray ("Drift Away". A little known fact: In the early 1960s, a new band from England, called The Beatles, auditioned for Decca Records. But the label wasn't interested. MCA Records would buy out Decca and other labels by the year 1970.

    Disc One: Stuart Hamblen & His Covered Wagon's Jubilee and their tune, "Texas Plains" (1934) starts it off, being the very first Decca country session, held in Los Angeles on August 3, 1934. Tex Owens' "Cattle Call" (1934) is his version that Eddy Arnold would be famous with. Yet, Tex Owens recorded the original, and The Light Crust Doughboys and Jimmy Wakely would follow, then Eddy Arnold. The Shelton Brothers' "Just Because" (1935) would be a future hit for Lloyd Price. "Listen To The Mockingbird" (1935) by Curley Fox is an instrumental bluegrass track. "The Eyes Of Texas" (1936) is one of the many early Country classics. (I remember Elvis Presley's version.) Milton Brown & His Brownies gets the call on this classic. Did you know, this song was set to the tune of "I've Been Working On The Railroad" ?

    The famous Carter Family was one of the originators in Country music. "My Dixie Darling" (1936) is their song here. Of course, future Carter member June would later marry a future Country star, Johnny Cash. Take note on this next track -- Lou Soileau's Rhythm Boys' "La Bonne Valse." (1937) Is it early country? Blues? The vocals here are of intense, high-pitched, nasal. Leo Soileau was a Cajun singer, and this vocal style was used in Cajun music. Country music has always been famous for sad stories. "The Last Letter" 1937 by Rex Griffin is one of those many tear jerking stories, typical of Country tunes. "Bile Dem Cabbage Down" (1937) by Clayton McMichen's Georgia Wildcats is bluegrass, with harsh sounding vocalization.

    Another sad storyteller, like "The Last Letter" by Rex Griffin, is Riley Puckett's "Short Life Of Trouble." (1937) Tex Ritter (actor John's Dad) was one of many great early country singers. His "Singing In The Saddle" (1939) is here. It's classic, and any early country collection like this, has to include Tex Ritter. He would have three #1 Country songs: "I'm Wastin Ny Tears On You" (1944), "You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often" (1945), and "You Will Have To Pay" (1945). All three songs and more, are here in this review. Two more great early Country sounding tunes are next: "I'll Get Mine Bye And Bye No.2" (1939) by Buddy Jones, and "Sparkling Blue Eyes" (1939) by Bill Carlisle's Kentucky Boys.

    "Truck Driver's Blues" (1939) by Cliff Bruner & His Boys -- With the "blues" in its title, it is definitely country and blues. Two classic early Country songs follow: "You Are My Sunshine" (1940) (Jimmie Davis With Charles Mitchell's Orchestra), and "Cool Water" (1941) (Sons of the Pioneers). Jimmie Davis would have a #1 Country hit, "There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder" (1945). Another artist to be included in a collection as this, would be Ernest Tubb, and his "Walking The Floor Over You." (1941) (A great country song title!) Read this review of The Definitive Collection here. He would achieve a total of four #1 Country songs: "Soldier's Last Letter" (1944), "It's Been So Long Darling" (1945), "Rainbow At Midnight" (1947), "Goodnight Irene" (with Red Foley; 1950). They are all in the The Definitive Collection. Surprisingly, "Walking The Floor Over You" did not reach #1; as it would become Tubbs' theme song.

    Closing Disc One with the next three tracks, all in bluegrass style: "Milk Cow Blues" (1941) (Johnny Lee Wills & His Boys), "They Took The Stars Out Of Heaven" (1941) (Floyd Tillman & His Favorite Cowboys), and "Gospel Cannonball" (1941) (The Delmore Brothers). "Milk Cow Blues" would later be covered by artists such as Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, and Aerosmith. Floyd Tillman's "They Took The Stars Out Of Heaven" was a 1944 #1 Country song.

    Disc Two: Early Bluegrass continues, with "Ruby" 1946, by Cousin Emmy & Her Kinfold "Sugarfoot Rag" 1949 by Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland is early country bluegrass, and reminds me of Frankie Laine's "Mule Train." Another "must artist" in a collection as this, would be Red Foley, another icon in early Country music. One of his seven #1's is in this collection, "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy", recorded in 1949, and reached #1 in January, 1950. Not only did this song reach #1 on Country, it crossed over to #1 on the Pop chart as well. His other #1's: "Smoke On The Water" (1944), "Shame, Shame On You" (1945), "New Jolie Blonde (New Pretty Blonde)" (1947), "Birmingham Bounce" (1950), "Goodnight Irene" (with Red Foley, 1950), and "Midnight" (1953). All seven #1's are in this compilation, Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy. Bill Monroe, (another popular early country artist and icon) was on Decca, and if his tune here, "Uncle Pen" (1950) sounds familiar, you may remember this song, covered decades later, in 1984, by Ricky Skaggs. Skagg's version would reach #1. And, Skaggs was lucky enough, to have Monroe appear with him, in his video "Country Boy," in 1985. Monroe was 73 years old. Skaggs was in his very early thirties.

    Another "queen of country" -- Kitty Wells most famous (and #1 hit) "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" (1952) is in this set. As famous as she was, she only achieved two #1 Country hits. Ths one in this set, and "Heartbreak U.S.A." (1961). "I Let The Stars Get In My Eyes" (1952) by Goldie Hill would be a future hit by Perry Como, yet the title was changed to "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes." Como's hit would reach #1 in 1953, one of nine songs he would reach the top of the Pop charts. Rex Allen has a great singing voice on "Crying In The Chapel" (1953). Elvis Presley would have his own version, and another group, The Orioles, in the 1950s. "Pork Chop Stomp" (1953) by Grady Martin & His Winging Strings is similar to another future hit by The Ames Brothers, "Rag Mop" (#1, 1950).

    "I Gotta Go Get My Baby" (1954) by Justin Tubb is another early country track. Any relation to Ernest? Yes, Justin was Ernest's eldest son. Red Sovine & Webb Pierce's "Why Baby Why" (1955) was an #1 Country hit, in 1956. Both artists would have successful careers of their own. Webb Pierce would achieve many #1 Country hits, and Red Sovine would also reach #1 Country, with his "talking songs" -- "Giddyup Go" (1966) and ""Teddy Bear" (1976) -- Both of these songs reached #1, and he had other talking songs. Webb Pierce would have a total of nine #1's" "Back Street Affair" (1952), "It's Been So Long" (1953), "There Stands The Glass" (1953), "Slowly" (1954), "More And More" (1954), "In The Jailhouse Now" (1955), "I Don't Care" (1955), "Love, Love, Love" (1955), and "Why Baby Why." The next track is by Red Sovine, "If Jesus Came To Your House" (1956) combines both his singing and talking. And very touching lyrics, in which Jesus would visit your home. Buddy Holly recorded for Decca, Brunswick, and Coral labels. "Blue Days Black Night" (1956) sounds very much like the early Sun recordings of Elvis Presley. A year later, in 1957, Buddy would achieve Rock and Roll stardom. Yet, his life ended in a 1959 plane crash, with J.P. Richardson ("The Big Bopper") and Ritchie Valens. Had he lived, he just may have pursued County, as he and Waylon Jennings were bandmates at the time of Buddy's death. Buddy just may have been one of the famous future "Country Outlaws," which would consist of Waylon, and Wilie Nelson, and others.

    Bobby Helms would be more famous with his Christmas classic, "Jingle Bell Rock" (1957), but he had another popular #1 Country hit, and it's on this collection: "Fraulein" (1956). The Kalen Twins' "When" (1958) sounds more of an early 1950s rock and roll song. Donny Young may not sound like a familiar name, but this was the name he used, with another future country star, Roger Miller. They recorded "On This Mountain Top" (1958). This song is similar to an early hit by Ray Price, "Crazy Arms" (19556). Donny Young's name would change, and become another future country legend: Johnny Paycheck.

    Webb Pierce returns, with "I Ain't Never (1959). Mel Tillis would record his version of this song in 1972, and would reach #1 Country. Roy Drusky would reach #1 as a duet, with Priscilla Mitchell, "Yes, Mr. Peters" in 1965. For this collection, Roy was solo, with his song "Another" (1959). Another future star that would achieve popular records on both Country and Pop, was Brenda Lee -- "Little Miss Dynamite." One of her #1 Pop records (she had two), NONE on the Country chart, and one on Adult Contemporary), "I'm Sorry" (1960) is included here. Surprisingly, her Christmas classic, "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" (1958) did not reach #1 on any of the charts mentioned. The Lewis Pruitt song, "Crazy Bullfrog" (1960) has the Buddy Holly sound. There is very little information found on Lewis Pruitt. Lewis Pruitt made only a few records, but they are a fine testament to his talents. His earliest recordings were on the Peach label out of Jefferson, Georgia. Songs like "Pretty Baby" and "This Little Girl" were excellent examples of the rockabilly style. But "Timbrook," a 1959 release on Peach, later released on Decca, first brought him to national attention. Pruitt had only three chart records over approximately two years (1960-61). his last, "Crazy Bullfrog," written by Slim Wiliamson, seems a throwback to the rockabilly fervor that marked his earlier records and that had all but disappeared from country music when released in 1961.
    From the liner notes of From The Vaults: Decca Country Classics 1934-1973

    Ending Disc Two, is from another popular singer, Burl Ives. His "Little Bitty Tear" (1961) would hit #1 on Adult Contemporary. He would also become popular, recording Christmas songs, such as "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas." And speaking of Christmas, he would be the voice of Sam the Snowman, in the Christmas TV special, "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reinder."

    Disc Three: Disc three starts with a catchy early 1950s Country tune, "Trouble's Back In Town" (1961) by The Wilburn Brothers. The next song is bluegrass -- "Tennessee" (1962) by Jimmy Martin. Next, is Bill Anderson is another great country legend. One of his #1 hits on Decca is in the set, the #1 "Still" (1962). He would have six other #1 Country songs: "Mama Sang A Song" (1962), "I Get The Fever" (1966), "For Loving You" (1967; with Jan Howard), "My Life (Throw It Away If I Want To)" (1969), "World Of Make Believe" (1974), and "Sometimes" (1975; with Mary Lou Turner). And, another great country artist was Patsy Cline. "Sweet Dreams" (1963). Just as Buddy Holly, she was talented, well-liked, and sure to have a promising future in Country music. Patsy Cline died from a plane crash on March 5, 1963.

    The next two tracks were #1 Country songs, in the early years of Country music: "The Bridge Washed Out" (1965) by Warner Mack, and "Hello Vietnam" (1965) by Johnnie Wright. "Hello Vietnam" would appear in the soundtrack movie Full Metal Jacket (1987). This song was written by another Country legend, Tom T. Hall. Bill Owens and Dolly Parton co-wrote the next song, "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" (1965) by Bill Phillips. Dolly provided the harmony vocal on this song. Jan Howard had many hits and albums of her own, but many would remember her in duets with Bill Anderson. One of her solo hits was on Decca, "Evil On Your Mind" (1966). This song has a comparison to another country legend, Loretta Lynn. "Misty Blue" was a song originally for Brenda Lee. She turned it down, and the song was given to Wilma Burgess. This song would be her biggest hit, and a great song it is. She recorded many other songs, but none of those other songs, and even her name is not as famous as her fellow female Country singers -- such as Connie Francis, Patsy Cline, and Brenda Lee. "Misty Blue" is a great classic country tune.

    Jack Greene was another great Country artist. He also had many #1 Country hits to his credit. One of them is here, "There Goes My Everything" (1966). He had five #1 Country hits to his name: "There Goes My Everything" (1966), "All The Time" (1967), "You Are My Treasure" (1968), "Until My Dreams Come True" (1969), "Statue Of A Fool" (1969). Catchy, bouncy, this describes "I Never Had The One I Wanted" (1966) by Claude Gray. Early Merle Haggard, and compared to the classic tune by Dave Dudley, "The Pool Shark," is Jimmy Newman's "Louisiana Saturday Night" (1967). The next track is a classic! -- "Rocky Top" (1967), by The Osborne Brothers (1967).

    The next two Country names are no strangers, they both were on Decca Records: Loretta Lynn, and Conway Twitty. Both achieved #1 Country hits -- Loretta 16, Conway 42. Five of those total numbers were duets of Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty together. In this Decca collection, both songs by Loretta and Conway were #1 Country hits. Loretta's "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1969), and Conway's "Hello Darlin'" (1969). Little Jimmy Dickens had a #1 Country (novelty) hit in 1965, "May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose." In this Decca collection, he presents a "talking song" style in "Raggedy Ann" (1969). As mentioned, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty recorded together as a duet, and achieved five #1 Country hits together. One of them is here, "After The Fire Is Gone" (1970).

    Jerry Wallace was another artist, who had many hits, but not as remembered as his fellow male Country artists. But one of those many hits reached #1, "If You Leave Me Tonight I'll Cry" (1972). Another artist, Cal Smith, had three #1 hits. One of them, shares one of the common themes of country music songs: Drinking. (Cheating, Trucks, Lost Love would be other themes, to name a few.) "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking" (1972) is in this collection, and with a Country collection as this, a song about drinking would be complete. The last song to end this great Decca collection, is another Country legend. He had a total of fourteen #1 hits, and was a truly great Country artist: Marty Robbins. "This Much A Man" (1972) was not one of those #1's, yet it is a great song, by a great Country artist.

    From The Vaults: Decca Country Classics 1934-1973 is an excellent introduction to early Country music, and how it all started. The Ken Burns documentary on Country music is another great source. There is plenty of great instrumentation throughout this collection. Fiddles, banjos, guitars, and great vocals. Decca would be a record label that made many Country artists their home. Some would continue in the upcoming decades are true Country legends. The documentation from this box is a great read, especially on the lesser-known artists. They were all gifted, and having the Wikipedia links helps, for each artist to learn about, and relearn the more popular artists. Many of them are gone now, only a few are still with us. They all give us great Country music to enjoy, now, and for many generations to come. THIS IS COUNTRY MUSIC. Hear how it all began, on Decca Records.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA Records and is used for reference purposes only.

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