Randy McDaniel’s Top 10 Country Albums Ever Recorded
How many albums have been released in the history of Country Music? Countless, certainly thousands and thousands. So it’s not easy trying to pare them down to my Top Ten.
But if I could only have 10 albums to listen to over and over and over, well these 10 would do fine for me. Take a look, see what you think, tell me how great I did. I’m sure these are the exact 10 you would choose too, right?
10) Johnny Cash “Live At Folsum Prison” 1968–This is the one that more or less introduced me to Country Music. My Dad had other older Country LP’s but as a kid I was into the Beatles, Stones and other Rock my friends were listening to. When I heard this, suddenly it was OK to listen to Country Music and turn it up!
9) Waylon Jennings “Dreamin’ My Dreams” 1975-It was pretty much Waylon and Willie that took me into the Outlaw movement. I was going to put “The Outlaws” album on the list, but it seemed too easy. This LP includes “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” and “Bob Wills Is Still The King”. Every cut is pure Waylon.
8) Jerry Jeff Walker “A Man Must Carry On” 1977–One of the great songwriters of the last half century, best known of course for “Mr. Bojangles”. This LP highlights Walker at his best as far as I’m concerned. One of the legendary Texas singer/songwriters even though he’s originally from New York!
7) Guy Clark “Old No. 1″ 1975–Guy is someone a lot of people have never heard of. He’s a Texas fella and in my opinion one of the great story tellers in country music. He’s in the group with people like Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff, Emmy Lou, etc. This whole LP is worth it just for the cut “Like A Coat From The Cold”. You have to like a beautiful love song that begins “I’ve found comfort and courage in bottles of whiskey…”.
6) George Jones “Cold Hard Truth” 1999–This LP contains George’s hit “Choices” and that’s not even the best song. If you want to introduce someone to real country music play them “Our Bed Of Roses”. If you can listen to that song and not have the hair on your arms stand up, I’ve got news for you…you’re dead.
5) Michael Martin Murphy “Blue Sky Night Thunder” 1975–This is the album that introduced us to “Wildfire” a top hit in both Country and Rock. The full length version of the song is magnificent, but listen to “Desert Rat”. One of the finest songs ever written.
4) Willie Nelson “Red Headed Stranger” 1975–This is the album that broke Willie out to a wide, wide audience. It includes “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” but listen to the whole album and learn all about the “Preacher”.
3) Kris Kristofferson “Kristofferson” 1970–Kris debut LP, this is the one that includes “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”, “For The Good Times” and “Help Me Make It Through The Night”. Thing is, those aren’t even the best cuts. This man is the greatest songwriter of the past 50 years, bar none. Listen to every line in every song. It’s absolute magic. I don’t know how he does it, but he did it.
2) Kris Kristofferson “The Silver Tongued Devil And I” 1971–The follow up LP to “Kristofferson” and somehow even better than his first. Incredible songwriting and feeling. Gee, can you tell he influenced me a lot? Again, listen to every song, every line, every word.
1) Bobby Bare “Lullabys Legends And Lies” 1974–Bobby recorded this concept album in 1973, released in late 73, early 74. The legendary Shel Silverstein wrote the entire album and Bobby made it his own. Every song perfectly fits in the LP and you’ll think you’re sitting around a campfire with Bobby as he spins those lullabys legends and lies. From songs about Paul Bunyan to Mermaids, Marie Laveau to The Winner and “Daddy What If” with Bobby Jr., this album doesn’t have a bad song on it. Give a listen to “Rosalie’s Good Eats Cafe” and tell me you haven’t been in a place exactly like that!
Well, there you go! I’m sure you have your favorite album or 10 of all-time! Leave a comment or two and let me know what they are. These are mine. Now, pardon me while I go drop a needle on some fine country vinyl!