Throughout the 1940s, country music transformed itself from the rustic mountain music of Roy Acuff and the Carter Family to the more sophisticated, urbane sounds of western swing and early honky tonk. Straddling these two modern trends was Red Foley, a smooth-voiced but unmistakably Southern crooner whose records maintained a constant presence on country radio from 1946 to 1955. COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME collects 16 of Foley's best-known recordings from this era.
Foley's genial baritone lent itself well to a variety of styles, from boogie ("Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy") to gospel ("Just a Closer Walk With Thee") to novelties ("Don't Be Ashamed of Your Age," a duet with frequent partner Ernest Tubb) to Bob Wills-style swing ("Hang Your Head in Shame") to flat-out country ("Tennessee Border"). Best of all is "Old Shep," the extremely sentimental "boy-and-his-dog" song that Elvis Presley often proclaimed his all-time favorite number. Foley brings a high level of sophistication to each track: its not hard to imagine Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, and Tennessee Ernie Ford going to school on these records. If you love the great music of country's past, grab this disc before it slips out of print.