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The Best Of Hillbilly Classics

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Album Review

The Maddox Brothers & Rose belong in that upper echelon of performers whose contributions shaped country music for the ages. The difference is that the Maddox Brothers & Rose have not been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, never charted a national hit, and are far from being household names. The artists who credit their influence include Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton, to name only a couple. Their outrageous appearance (they popularized the garish Nudie suits that would later become the uniform of country stars), risqué material, and crazed performances punctuated by brother Cal's maniacal cackle made the group one of the most exciting and innovative acts of its time. They were rockabilly before such a thing existed, and Rose Maddox's brash, assertive style opened up new possibilities for women in country music beyond Patsy Montana's comparatively demure cowgirl image. The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band in America collects on four discs the group's complete Columbia recordings, plus early solo recordings by Rose, the Rosie & Rhetta singles, and a few stunning sides by the Maddox Brothers alone. There are many classic performances, from intense readings of sacred songs to hillbilly rock & roll to wild revisionist covers of current hits. The band's loose, energetic playing and surreal sense of humor make for some of the most awe-inspiring music of its era. This is the first legitimate release of this material on CD, and certainly the most complete anthology of the band's studio recordings ever assembled. Damn the charts — if you want to know about '50s country, this box set belongs in your collection.

Biography

Formed: 1933

Genre: Country

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

The Maddox Brothers (Cliff, Cal, Fred, Don, and "friendly Henry, the working girl's friend") and their sister Rose called themselves "America's Most Colorful Hillbilly Band." They weren't kidding. It wasn't just a matter of hillbilly couture — though with their matching Turk suits and spangles the family had style in spades. But colorful described their sound, as well. On the air in Modesto, CA, by 1937, the group made their first records, for the 4-Star label, in 1946. From 1951 till 1956,...
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The Best Of Hillbilly Classics, The Maddox Brothers & Rose
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