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King of the Road: The Genius of Roger Miller (Box Set)

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Album Review

The subtitle of Mercury Nashville's three-disc box set King of the Road is "The Genius of Roger Miller," a sentiment that listeners only familiar with his deliberately silly smashes would dispute, but as this three-disc, 70-track set plays out, it becomes clear that this is hardly hyperbole. If genius is a unique voice, either in writing or delivery, Miller certainly qualifies. If genius is an artist who displays a depth and variety of material, Miller fills the bill. If genius is creating a body of work unlike no other, Miller certainly fits the bill. Miller's genius lay in his command of small details, unassumingly witty wordplay, and seemingly effortless songcraft. Apart from "King of the Road," which developed an iconic status separate from his career, his hits were so funny, so easy, that it seemed his music was too light to withstand such an exhaustive retrospective, but that's hardly the case. Miller's hits were often wonderful, often the pinnacle of his talents, but look closer and it becomes clear that they happened to be the songs that were the singles; he often wrote songs that could have been as big as his hits, but weren't released as singles, or were tucked away on records to be discovered by diligent fans. It's a testament to his talent that not all of these are featured on this otherwise comprehensive box set; the 1991 Country Tunesmith collection alone contains many great songs that could have made the cut. They are missed, as are Miller's brilliant songs from Walt Disney's 1973 animated adaptation Robin Hood ("Not in Nottingham" is as lovely as anything he's done), but that doesn't mean that King of the Road doesn't work as a retrospective — it just means that, like other great artists, he has more than enough great music to fit onto three CDs. The three CDs are filled with wonderful music — songs that prove Miller is one of the great country songwriters, capable of songs wrenching in either their humor or pain, and one of the most distinctive voices in the genre. Needless to say, it's essential to any serious country collection.

Customer Reviews

Classic Stuff

All original material. No Re-makes here. Roger Miller was a genius, and his lyrics were wistful and entertaining. Too bad you can't buy the whole collection for one price.

An under appreciated genius.

My mom was a big fan of Roger Miller, so I grew up listening to his music. So many of these songs are short, catchy, funny, sad, perfect pop songs. It sounds like a lot of these tunes were produced with a "less is more" type of vibe. I don't think this guy gets enough credit for his body of work.

Feel Good music

Nothing like you have heard before. All his music is fun. You will find yourself singing along with his songs. Ever have one of those days that you just are not in a happy mood? Listen to this music, that will fast change. It will make you smile. I read some of the reviews on his other albums. They talked about introducing his music to their kids. You can do this and not worry about content. Kids of all ages love this kind of music. I am not sure what others are saying about not being able to buy the album, I hope when I clicked the buy the album button that is what I got. There are 70 songs in this boxed set. Such a wonderful value for the dollar. I am an old country fan. Most of todays country really isn't the kind of country I like. His voice is easy on the ears. Most of these songs I have not heard in over 30 years. This is iPod gold to me. I hope people keep introducing this wonderful music to other generations.


Born: January 2, 1936 in Fort Worth, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Roger Miller is best known for his humorous novelty songs, which overshadow his considerable songwriting talents as well as his hardcore honky tonk roots. After writing hits for a number of artists in the '50s, Miller racked up a number of hits during the '60s which became not only country classics, but popular classics as well. Miller was born in Fort Worth, TX, but raised in the small town of Erick, OK, by his aunt and uncle, following the death of his father and his mother's debilitating sickness....
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