Personnel includes: Eddy Arnold (vocals); Chet Atkins (guitar, banjo); John D. Loudermilk (guitar, harmonica); Velma Williams Smith, Little Roy Wiggins, Thomas Grady Martin, Ray Edenton (guitar); William W. Pursell (piano); Lillian V. Hunt, Wilda Tinsley, Dorothy Walker (violin); Brenton B. Banks (viola); Jerry Byrd, Bob L. Moore, Henry P. Strzelecki (bass); Douglas G. Kirkham, Buddy Harman, Jr. (drums); Anita Kerr, Dorothy Dillard, Louis D. Nunley, William G. Wright, Jr. (background vocals).
Producer: Chester P. Atkins.
Re-issue producer: Richard Weize.
Recorded at RCA Victor Studios, Nashville, Tennessee between 1959 and 1962. Includes liner notes by Jon Hartley Fox.
According to Billboard magazine, Eddy Arnold--not Hank Williams, not George Jones, not Merle Haggard, and not even Garth Brooks-is the top country artist of the modern era. During his lengthy career, Arnold placed 92 (!) singles in country music's Top Ten. Interestingly, though, Arnold today receives short shrift not only from contemporary country fans but also from aficionados of the genre's classic age. Like his contemporaries and fellow giants Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves, Arnold sings too prettily to suit today's styles, which favor the Hank Williams' mournful wail and George Jones' boozy melisma.
Fortunately, German archivists Bear Family Records never let current tastes dictate its output. The label has instead graced the world with this meticulously packaged reissue of two classic Arnold albums-presented in the "modern way" (Arnold's words) that so offends today's purists. Arnold touches all the bases here, trotting out many cowboy and folk standards: "The Streets of Laredo," "Tumbling Tumbleweed," "Tom Dooley," and 22 others nearly as familiar. Grungy urban cowboy-wannabes who scoff need to be reminded that real cowboys--and plenty of others who made up country's audience during its classic period--ate this stuff up.