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Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Hillbilly Music: 1949

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31/1/2011

Review

Germany's Bear Family is well known for its stellar box set reissues of country, rock, and rhythm & blues recordings, as well as for single titles by deserving if not necessarily remembered American artists. Their mastering, production, and packaging set the industry standard for excellence. The six-volume Dim Lights, Thick Smoke series was released on CD in December of 2008 and covered the years 1945-1950, a strange and wonderful time in country music history born from of the end of the War Department's restrictions on shellac and the end of the recording ban, all near the end of the second world war. These discs all contain either 27 or 28 tracks, and are lavishly annotated with historical essays and track by track annotation by the esteemed Colin Escott, and contain with photographs of performers and record sleeves where available. The 1949 volume in the Bear Family's Dim Lights, Thick Smoke series is one of the strongest. Country music became a true hotbed of activity as the '40s ended, with labels both major and independent recording and manufacturing titles in record numbers. The music on this 28-track set offers a small example of the wealth that was flooding jukeboxes, small independent radio stations, and even ending up in record shops across the nation. Some of the selections here, such as "Ghost Riders in the Sky" by Vaughn Monroe, and Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" are equaled by those of Leon McAuliffe's "Panhandle Rag," Bill Nettles' "Hadacol Boogie," and Johnnie & Jack's "What About You." Leon Payne's brilliant,. "I Love You Because," and Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Mule Train" are here as well. None of these cuts are necessarily rare, but placed in sequence like this makes for an amazing mix reproduced in almost uniformly excellent sound quality. Highly recommended. ~ Thom Jurek
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Riders in the Sky Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra 2:58
  3. 2 Room Full of Roses The Sons of the Pioneers 3:3
  4. 3 I Wish I Had a Nickel Jimmy Wakely 2:59
  5. 4 Lovesick Blues Hank Williams & the Drifting Cowboys 2:40
  6. 5 Then I Turned and Walked Slowly Away Eddy Arnold & His Tennessee Plowboys 2:53
  7. 6 Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait) Little Jimmy Dickens 2:46
  8. 7 Blues Stay Away from Me The Delmore Brothers 2:45
  9. 8 Don't Be Ashamed of Your Age Bob Wills 2:25
  10. 9 Candy Kisses George Morgan 2:49
  11. 10 Panhandle Rag Leon Mcauliffe & His Western Swing Band 2:45
  12. 11 Slippin' Around Floyd Tillman 2:47
  13. 12 Bonaparte's Retreat Pee Wee King & His Golden West Cowboys 2:45
  14. 13 Hadacol Boogie Bill Nettles & His Dixie Blue Boys 2:48
  15. 14 I Love You Because Leon Payne 2:40
  16. 15 Whoa Sailor Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys 2:16
  17. 16 Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello Ernest Tubb 2:55
  18. 17 Why Don't You Haul off and Love Me Wayne Raney 2:55
  19. 18 Will You Be Satisfied That Way Jimmie Skinner 2:38
  20. 19 The Old Cross Road Bill Monroe 2:40
  21. 20 What About You Johnnie & Jack and the Tennessee Mountain Boys 2:58
  22. 21 The White Dove Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys 3:13
  23. 22 Philadelphia Lawyer The Maddox Brothers & Rose 3:11
  24. 23 This Cold War with You Floyd Tillman 2:48
  25. 24 My Bucket's Got a Hole in It T. Texas Tyler 2:56
  26. 25 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry Hank Williams & the Drifting Cowboys 2:42
  27. 26 Warm Red Wine Bob Wills 2:53
  28. 27 I'm Throwing Rice Eddy Arnold & His Tennessee Plowboys 2:36
  29. 28 Mule Train Tennessee Ernie Ford 2:59

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