Bill Anderson: The First 10 Years, 1956-1966 (4-CD)
The first comprehensive anthology spotlighting Bill Anderson, the most successful singer-songwriter during the Nashville Sound's classic era. Contains 21 'Billboard' country chart hits, including such favorites as Po' Folks, Mama Sang A Song, Still, Bright Lights And Country Music, I Love You Drops, and I Got The Fever. Includes everything from Anderson's first eight Decca albums plus seven non-LP 'B' sides and three unissued studio tracks. Five duets with Jan Howard, including the chart-topping For Loving You. Features the first reissue of Bill Anderson's rare, early TNT singles including the rocking Take Me and the premiere recording of his enduring honky-tonk anthem City Lights. Includes twelve demos of Anderson originals from the singer's private collection, among them a duet featuring a teen-aged Dolly Parton.
With a career dating back to the mid-fifties, Bill Anderson is probably the most successful singer-songwriter in country music history. A member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than a half-century, he remains an engaging performer, a prolific writer and one of the industry's most respected elder statesmen.
His best-selling Decca recordings of the late fifties and through the sixties were benchmarks in the emerging Nashville Sound. Outside of indifferently assembled 'hits' packages, these sides have never been properly reissued on compact disc - until now. Assembled with the singer's co-operation, this four-CD compilation gathers every surviving master recording from 1956 through 1966, plus an alternate version of '3 A.M.' The set includes Bill Anderson's first single, released while he was a 19-year-old University of Georgia student.
For those who only know the singer for the intimate, soft-spoken vocals and recitations that landed him the nickname 'Whispering Bill,' these early sides are a revelation, a diverse mix ranging from rockabilly balladry to Texas-style shuffles to unapologetic honky-tonk to Nashville pop country. The set also includes twelve demos from Bill Anderson's private collection, including such now-celebrated songs as
I Love You Drops, The Cold, Hard Facts Of Life, Once A Day, Slippin' Away, and The Lord Knows I'm Drinkin'. A young Dolly Parton duets with Bill Anderson on If It's All The Same To You.
This collection includes a detailed biography of Bill Anderson's remarkable career through 1966, illustrated with photos and memorabilia from the singer's personal archive.
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|Anderson, Bill - The First 10 Years, 1956-1966 (4-CD) Box set 1|
|04||No Song To Sing|
|05||That's What It's Like To Be Lonesome (single|
|06||The Thrill Of My Life|
|08||Back Where I Started From|
|09||It's Not The End Of Everything|
|10||Dead Or Alive|
|11||No Man's Land|
|12||The Tip Of My Fingers|
|13||Walk Out Backwards|
|14||Best Of Strangers|
|15||Flowing Waters And Shifting Sands|
|16||Goodbye Cruel World|
|18||As Long As I Live|
|19||It Takes A Worried Man|
|21||Columbus Stockade Blues|
|22||Mama Sang A Song|
|24||Yonder Comes A Sucker|
|25||Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain|
|26||On And On And On|
|27||Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands|
|28||Down Came The Rain|
|30||You Made It Easy|
|31||I Wish It Was Mine|
|Anderson, Bill - The First 10 Years, 1956-1966 (4-CD) Box set 3|
|01||From A Jack To A King|
|02||Little Band Of Gold|
|05||Reverend Mr. Black|
|06||It's Been So Long, Darlin'|
|07||Take These Chains From My Heart|
|09||8 x 10|
|10||I'll Be Somewhere|
|11||One Mile Over û Two Miles Back|
|12||Take Me Home|
|13||Candy Apple Red|
|15||Easy Come Easy Go|
|16||Five Little Fingers|
|18||500 Miles Away From Home|
|19||You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry|
|22||I'm Leaving It All Up To You|
|23||I Love You More And More Every Day|
|25||In Case You Ever Change Your Mind|
|26||In The Misty Moonlight|
|28||Then And Only Then|
|30||You Can Have Her|
|31||Then I'll Stop Loving You|
|33||CD+D492 3 :|
|34||3 A.M. (Remake)|
|35||Twist Of The Wrist|
|37||I Love You Drops|
|38||Once A Day|
|39||I Missed Me|
|40||I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand|
|42||I Don't Love You Anymore|
|44||I Know You Are Married (But I Love You Still)|
|46||I'll Be Waiting|
|47||Bright Lights And Country Music|
|50||Wild Side Of Life|
|51||Truck Drivin' Man|
|52||I'll Go Down Swinging|
|53||The Strangers Story|
|54||Walking The Dog|
|55||How The Other Half Lives|
|57||All Nite Cafe|
|60||Think I'll Go Somewhere (And Cry Myself To Sl|
|61||In The Summertime|
|63||I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry|
|Anderson, Bill - The First 10 Years, 1956-1966 (4-CD) Box set 4|
|02||When Liking Turns To Loving|
|03||Talkin' To The Wall|
|04||Next Time You're In Tulsa|
|05||I Get The Fever (remake)|
|06||Nail My Shoes To The Floor|
|07||The First Mrs. Jones|
|09||For Loving You|
|11||Get While The Gettin's Good|
|12||Something To Believe In|
|13||Ride Ride Ride|
|14||My Daddy And My Mama And Me|
|15||A Satisfied Mind|
|18||The Wheel Of Hurt|
|19||Open Up Your Heart|
|21||I'm Ashamed Of You|
|22||If It's All The Same To You|
|23||Here Lies The Heart Of Amos Brown|
|24||Once A Day|
|25||The Cold Hard Facts Of Life|
|26||Think I'll Go Somewhere (And Cry Myself To Sl|
|27||I Love You Drops|
|28||I'll Go Down Swingin'|
|29||You And Your Sweet Love|
|30||The Lord Knows I'm Drinkin'|
|32||Nobody But A Fool|
The 1960s might almost be called the Anderson Decade in country and western music. It's been a rare week when an Anderson song, recorded either by himself or by another major artist, has not been on the national country hit charts. At times, there have been two or three Anderson numbers on the charts at the same time.
Irwin Stambler and Grelun Landon
‘Encyclopedia of Folk, Country and Western Music,’ 1969
From a contemporary perspective, it's easy to overlook Bill Anderson's significance during that tumultuous decade in American history and country music. The self-made critics who track popular culture usually cite Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Buck Owens, and Johnny Cash as country music's major artists during those years. While Haggard's and Lynn's trajectories tipped upward, Jones treaded water through popular but mostly forgettable hits. Owens's career rose and fell, while Cash's fell and rose. But Anderson came in on a high note and stayed there.
Through that decade, Anderson remained a consistent Top 10 country singles artist, his records seldom dipping below that peak well into the seventies. Six of those singles crossed over into the pop charts. A master communicator, Anderson was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry at age 23. In 1964 he assembled the Po' Boys, one of the era's great back-up bands. The following year he launched 'The Bill Anderson Show,'a low-key syndicated half-hour running in major television markets nationwide. As one of the industry's most prolific songwriters, he penned career-boosting hit singles for Porter Wagoner, Jim Reeves, Lefty Frizzell, Faron Young, Roy Drusky, and Connie Smith.
Today Anderson is one of country music's respected elder statesmen. Younger artists still seek him out for his new material, while others mine his vast back catalog for potential hits. Anderson's popular 'Country Family Reunion' concerts and videos provide a relaxing platform for his heroes and peers, while attracting audiences who share his passion for Nashville's golden era.
Outside of superficial, indifferently assembled 'hits' packages, the music he recorded during the ‘Anderson Decade' has eluded reissue. To be sure, his intimate early Decca love ballads never appealed to the predominantly male record-collecting fraternity – the crowd that idolizes the Owenses, Haggards, Lynns, Joneses and Cashes. But there's more to the singer than the sentimental ballads and semi-recitations that landed him the nickname 'Whispering Bill.' His TNT and Decca catalog includes rockabilly, Texas shuffles, Nashville pop, saga songs, power ballads and a touch of bluegrass. All are overdue for rediscovery.
The Anderson family originally hailed from Pike County, Georgia. In 1920 James William Anderson, Sr. sold his farm to open an insurance agency in nearby Griffin, Georgia. The business evolved into the Middle Georgia Mutual Insurance Co., which remains in operation today. On weekends the elder Anderson played fiddle with his brothers as the Anderson Family Band, mostly working square dances and Griffin social events. His wife, Elizabeth Williams Anderson, played parlor guitar, but only for her own amusement.
Their only child, James William Anderson, Jr., inherited his parents' work ethic, if not their musical talent. In 1933 he was an Atlanta correspondent for the newly formed Dun & Bradstreet, gathering financial data about regional businesses for use in credit evaluations. On September 27, 1933 he married Elizabeth 'Lib' Smith, whose father was the former pastor of Griffin's First Methodist Church. Soon after the wedding, Dun & Bradstreet transferred him to Meridian, Mississippi. Three years later the agency moved him to Columbia, South Carolina, where the couple's first child, James William Anderson III, was born November 1, 1937. A daughter, Mary Elizabeth, arrived four-and-a-half years later.
From the start, young Billy Anderson was attracted by virtually everything he heard on family's small Philco radio, especially the live country music shows broadcast over WIS, Columbia's oldest and largest station. His favorite act was Byron Parker and His Hillbillies, who were featured on three daily shows. The youngster listened carefully as the silver-tongued Parker, billing himself 'The Old Hired Hand,' extolled the advantages of his sponsors' flour, tires and laxatives. Parker's pitches were punctuated by music and broad comedy from his well-seasoned string band, which included fiddler Homer 'Pappy' Sherrill, bassist/comedian Julian 'Greasy' Medlin and DeWitt 'Snuffy' Jenkins, whose innovative five-string banjo picking inspired pioneering bluegrass stylists Earl Scruggs and Don Reno.
The Andersons' next-door neighbors had a daughter who worked as WIS's receptionist. When Billy was about five or six, she took him to a live broadcast of Parker's morning show. "Byron Parker came over to where I was seated in the corner of the studio and talked to me, asked me my name, then introduced me to some of the other musicians in the band," Anderson recalled in his 1989 autobiography, 'Whispering Bill.' "Then when their show started, Byron Parker, The Old Hired Hand himself, said my name on the radio so my mother and dad at home could hear that I was there. I honestly don't remember another day in the early years of my life when I was as excited or as happy."
Although he faithfully listened to Parker's broadcasts for the next two years, Billy Anderson never saw The Old Hired Hand again. Parker couldn't play an instrument and limited his singing to bass harmonies in the band's gospel quartets, but the youngster never forgot him. After watching Anderson perform at a North Carolina show in the early sixties, Don Reno commented on the singer's similarities to Parker, who died unexpectedly in 1948 at age 37. "Boy, you sound like him and you move like him, and from what I saw tonight you handle an audience just like he did," Reno told him, never suspecting that Anderson knew – much less heard of – the long-deceased broadcaster. "I don't think I slept a wink that night," Anderson recalled a quarter-century later. Even now, Reno's words still resonate in Anderson's memory. That was the most amazing things that ever happened to me in my life, he admitted in 2011. "Even today I get chill bumps when I think about it, because he didn't know that I even knew who Byron Parker was. And when he told me that's who I reminded him of, it almost brings tears to my eyes today. To think that that man had that kind of an influence and impact on me … it's amazing!"
Bill Anderson The First 10 Years, 1956-1966 (4-CD)
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Very good beginning
As always, Bear Family Box set never disapoint you. I know I got quite a few of them! When you reissue a decade in a box, and take all the artists recordings in that decade, one can hope for another box for the next decade, and that way you end up with all the artists recordings. This is the best way to collect records! Starting with the beginning. As for Bill Anderson, well; no he was not a great singer, but a very good songwriter, and the whole Nashville sound to it, makes it all allright! So if there should ever come another box, with the next decade, I'm in!
Don't know what this means
I only knew Bill Anderson from his excellent hit songs. In fact I only cam across him through British comedian/crooner Ken Dodd who, in the 60s, put out 3 singles in a row, all of Bill Anderson songs, (Still, 8x10 and Happiness).
On CD1 the selection of Bill's 50s recordings are interesting, particularly the early version of City Lights but, in my opinion, Bill really came into his own during the 60s and the latter part of this CD contains several of his hit songs that still sound good today.
CD2 contains several cover versions. I always like to hear how other artists interpret well-known songs and Bill has chosen particularly well as his versions are much smoother than the hits and stand up well against them.
Two songs on this CD that I had not heard before but which I enjoyed very much were Me and Restless.
CD3 has Bill's versions of respectively Connie Smith's and Al Martino's hits Once A Day and Think I'll Go Somewhere (And Cry Myself To Sleep).
CD4 ends with 12 demos, including a duet with Dolly Parton and another Connie Smith hit, Nobody But A Fool. There is also a nice version of this song by Dean Martin on his LP The Hit Sound Of DM.
Overall, this set demonstrates what a supreme songwriter and performer Bill is, Quality all the way through.
Bill Anderson is Nashville's most successful and consistent songwriter of all time. This four-CD set covers the first 10 years of his recordings..This is a stunning release that is highly recommended.
Maverick 3-4/2012 Alan Cackett
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