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Bear Family Records Press Archive

Pressearbeit / Media Deutschland:
Shack Media Promotion Agency
Tom Redecker - Postfach 1627 - 27706 Osterholz-Scharmbeck
Tel.: 04791-980642 - Fax: 04791-980643 info@shackmedia.de  www.shackmedia.de

Automatically scanned from the original press reviews by an OCR software, the text files in our Press Archive may contain errors and mutilations. We will eliminate these errors whenever time allows. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - The New York Times
‘The Bakersfield Sound’

(Bear Family; 10 CDs plus hard-bound book, $179.68)

The city of Bakersfield, Calif. emerged in the 1950s to rival Nashville as the place defining country music. The Bakersfield sound clung tenaciously to country’s most twangy, sinewy elements — bluegrass, Western swing, honky-tonk, rockabilly — to accompany lean, down-to-earth, working-class storytelling. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard were the city’s superstars, but this copious 10-CD set, which includes an extensively researched hardcover book, digs far deeper. It starts with Library of Congress recordings of migrant Southwestern farmworkers in California — real “Okies” — and celebrates Bakersfield’s studio mainstays. It rediscovers rowdy rarities like Phil Brown’s “You’re a Luxury” and Rose Stassie’s “Out of My Mind.” Instead of well-worn hits, it selects lesser-known cuts from Owens and Haggard, including their barely distributed debut singles. While Nashville eventually won country radio, at least Bakersfield never got slick. JON PARELES
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - theseconddisc
Bakersfield, California is a long way from Nashville – a little under 2,020 miles west, actually. But the distance isn’t quite as great when one considers how much significant country music came out of the city in Kern County. Recent years have seen numerous reissues from legendary Bakersfield artists like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, as well as a fine exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame. But now Bear Family Records has delivered the ultimate tribute to the city’s remarkable legacy of music. The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital of the West 1940-1974 is a beautifully sprawling chronicle of how Music City West came to be, as told via 10 CDs, almost 300 songs, and a definitive, 224-page hardcover tome.

While the sound of Bakersfield came to signify a raw, grittier honky-tonk country style (as opposed to the lush strings and choirs of The Nashville Sound as pioneered in the 1960s by Chet Atkins and others), folk, western swing, and so-called “hillbilly music” all figured into the embryonic Bakersfield Sound Those individual sounds are all explored on the early discs of the box set before local discs cede to the major label releases from Capitol Records and others which drew on the city’s talented artists. Once Bakersfield was established, its artists touched on further genres like rock, pop, and even psychedelia.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - INK19
Bear Family Productions
It was a study in contrasts for a county music fan during the late ’60s. On the one hand you had “Music City USA” – Nashville, with hits such as “Make the World Go Away” by Eddy Arnold and “Danny Boy” by Ray Price, something called “The Nashville Sound” that morphed into “Countrypolitian”. Produced by Billy Sherrill and Chet Atkins, among others, it was country music – easy listening style. It was as far removed from the hills and farms that birthed the song collections of A.P. Carter and family as was possible. For those longing for the old songs and feel, one had to turn to the coast, where music still played in honkytonks, five sets a night.


That place was called Bakersfield, CA, and is the subject of this grand look assembled by Bear Family, The Bakersfield Sound – Country Music Capital of the West 1940-1974. On the West coast Merle Haggard and Buck Owens ruled the airwaves, record sales and beer joints, stringing up hit after hit, leading the area to be known as “Nashville West” for a time. While the area’s heyday was largely over by the mid-’70s, a quick look at today’s country stars – from Dwight Yoakam to the entire “outlaw country” movement owes a huge debt to folks like Merle Haggard, whose poetic songs captured the plight of the everyman as well as anyone, and Buck Owens, that made a career out of classic country/pop moments, propelled by his ace guitarist Don Rich.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - MoJo
Various ***** The Bakersfield Sound BEAR FAMILY. 10-CO BOX
How California became Honky Tonk Heaven. In the '60s, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard sang country chart-toppers by the bucket-load, establishing Bakersfield, California, as a direct rival to Nashville. Their music was less showy, more contemporary than that from Music City and would influence country rock and the later Outlaw genre. This superb Bear Family presentation, with a considerable number of previously unreleased studio tracks, radio recordings and demos by artists ranging from Bob Wills to Arlo Guthrie, documents the musical history of the city — from field record-ings made by dust-bowl migrants in the 1940s, up to 1974, when Buck Owens notched his final Top 10 hit and Bakersfield guitar hero Don Rich was killed in a motor-cycle accident. Comes with a lavishly illustrated 230-page hardback book, by award-winning writer Scott B. Bomar with a foreword by Foo Fighter Chris Shiflett. Fred Dellar
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - ricentral.com
Where do you begin with a review of a box set documenting the Bakersfield Sound in country music? Here’s thinking the best place is the stats. From the great chroniclers of the music of yesteryear and particularly country music, that being Bear Family Records of Germany, the newly released collection The Bakersfield Sound 1940-1974 is a wonderfully exhaustive motherlode of sounds from that important locale in the history of country music. As for those stats, try this on for size: 300-plus tracks spread over 10 CDs plus a 224-page coffee table-ready hardcover book with an array of photos, many of which are rare, and track-by-track commentary and analysis by Grammy-nominated Bakersfield sound historian Scott B. Bomar.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - arkansas online
The Bakersfield Sound is an identifiable strain of the genre that combines traditional country elements such as stinging steel guitars and snarling Telecasters with an attitude informed by the perspectives of outsiders, the Dust Bowl refugees that poured into California from Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma by the hundreds of thousands: hillbillies, Arkies, tin-can tourists, harvest gypsies, fruit tramps and Okies.
No version of "Hungry Eyes" appears on The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital of the West, 1940-1974, a 10-CD 299-track seven-and-a-half-pound boxed set produced by Germany-based Bear Family Productions ($190.91 at bear-family.com), probably because it would have been too expensive to obtain the rights. But it does come with a handsome coffee table book researched and written by Los Angeles musicologist Scott Bomar, who might rightfully be designated the author of this collection.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - goldmine mag
Nestled in California's agricultural Great Central Valley, the Bakersfield area attracted carloads of Great Depression and Dust Bowl era migrants. Of course, they brought their music – a mixture of trad folk, hillbilly, western swing, and more, which made the region a musical melting pot – all the more because a few local radio stations aired all kinds of music, and local TV stations featured nearby performers. With its Telecaster-driven honky-tonk style, Bakersfield eventually became known as Nashville West or the country music capital of the West.

At the start of this enormous box's accompanying book, Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters pulls out the old saying that while Nashville country came out of the churches, Bakersfield's came out of the barrooms. Marty Stuart notes, "If you had a little edge on you, if you had a little cowboy in you, if you were a bit of an innovator or a wildcat, you could stand a chance of making it more in California than in Nashville."

Though very different, Merle Haggard (an actual Bakersfield-area native whose family had left Oklahoma) and Texas-born Buck Owens were the Bakersfield sound's biggest successes. With nearly 300 tracks, the box also brings forth plenty of worthy local folks like Billy Mize, who was content with a regional career rather than aiming for national stardom. We hear the Maddox Brothers and Rose (wildcard forerunners of rock and roll), Red Simpson (of the trucker song genre), and 12-string telecaster hero Joe Maphis with wife Rose Lee.
Of all the small labels here, Tally (run by local entrepreneur Lew Talley) was the most significant. Songwriter Harlan Howard's first disc was on it. Jan Howard (his wife at the time) did her first demo tapes at Tally. Just as back in mid-50s Memphis, Sam Phillips at Sun Records found the sound he sought in teenaged Elvis Presley, Talley found his sound in young Merle Haggard. Last-minute copyright issues forced rare Tally tapes of Hag's to be dropped from this package after its book was printed.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - allmusic
Buck Owens turned Bakersfield, California into the epicenter of hip country music in the mid-1960s. All it took was a remarkable streak of number one singles that steamrolled right through Nashville with their electrified twang, forever changing the notion of what constituted country music and codifying the Bakersfield sound as hard-driving rhythms, trebly Telecasters and lean arrangements suited for honky tonks, beer joints and jukeboxes all across America. Half a century later, these remain sonic signifiers of Bakersfield, so the term no longer conveys a specific sounds, place and era—a situation the weighty Bear Family box The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital Of The West 1940-1974 intends to rectify.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - audiophilereview.com
These 10 CDs will keep your ears busy picking out old and new favorites, and the accompanying book is a great read by itself. Ken Burns got it right on film, but the Bear Family’s taped archives are just as important and entertaining for capturing this era of country music history, as a standalone piece or an accompaniment.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - audiophilereview.com
These 10 CDs will keep your ears busy picking out old and new favorites, and the accompanying book is a great read by itself. Ken Burns got it right on film, but the Bear Family’s taped archives are just as important and entertaining for capturing this era of country music history, as a standalone piece or an accompaniment.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - audiophilereview.com
These 10 CDs will keep your ears busy picking out old and new favorites, and the accompanying book is a great read by itself. Ken Burns got it right on film, but the Bear Family’s taped archives are just as important and entertaining for capturing this era of country music history, as a standalone piece or an accompaniment.
Presse Archiv - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - audiophilereview.com
Buck Owens' "Down On The Corner" was his first commercial recording from 1955 on the Pep Records label! Johnny Bond's "I Like That Kind" is a neat little rocker (and yes, there is plenty of borderline rock and rock-a-billy styling going on here amidst the country twang). 'Steady Lovin'" (probably by) Skeets McDonald is also a bit of rock 'n rollin' joy.

Guitarists will get a kick out of hearing the first single by Semie Mosley on Mos-Rite Records. Yes, that is the same Mos-Rite that went on to create acclaimed Mosrite Guitars brand that became popular with Surf guitar bands like The Ventures in the 1960s (and The Ramones in the 70s!). Here he breaks out "When The Saints Go Marching In."

And the set goes on like this. It is really interesting how in very short order you hear The Bakersfield Sound emerge across these recordings, sounding immediately more modern and more rocking than earlier Nashville based productions. Even on the modern productions found on the later discs in the set the Bakersfield flavors can be heard quite clearly.

Indeed, The Bakersfield Sound is not just about a style of music, its about an attitude and it comes across all of these tracks.

This collection is essential listening if you love Country Western music.
Press Archive - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - themortonreport.com
There are also lots of fascinating obscurities, including many rarities from local labels. The program embraces Bill Woods & His Orange Blossom Playboys' 1949 single, "Have I Got a Chance with You," the first commercial release ever by a Bakersfield country group; a cover of the Kalin Twins' 1958 pop hit, "When," by Billy Mize and Cliff Crofford; songwriter Harland Howard's first recording; and bandleader Johnny Barnett's only single, which happens to also have the distinction of being the first commercially released song by Haggard. Also on the menu: Barbara Mandrell's first solo recording; no fewer than three tunes about Dear John letters; a song by country-rock guitarist Clarence White, who would go on to play with the Byrds; and much, much more.

As Bomar says in the liner notes, "We've tried to avoid too much of the obvious stuff you've heard a million times. You'll find some hits, but we've gravitated toward deep cuts, alternate takes, album tracks, live material, and even some rarities that have never been released until now."

The box set's accompanying LP-sized, 224-page hardcover book—which will probably take you at least as long to get through as the music—is nearly as rewarding as the recordings. It includes well-informed essays about the history of the Bakersfield sound, lots of rare photographs, biographies of all the artists, and notes on all the songs. Between the book and the music, there's more than enough here to give you a deep understanding of how this important genre emerged and evolved—and of the impact it has had on the wider world of country.
Press Archive - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - all about jazz
Various Artists: The Bakersfield Sound Think of country music and the city that immediately springs to mind is Nashville, but for a while Bakersfield became a capitol of country music in its own right, and its importance as the originator of the Bakersfield sound is examined in a massive box set from Bear Family Records, The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital of the West 1940-1974, containing 10 CDs and a 224-page book written by Scott B. Bomar with a foreword by Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters.

As Bomar points out, the most well-known definition of the Bakersfield sound is a brand of country music with a hard-edged honky tonk sensibility propelled by Fender Telecaster guitars, a driving beat and pedal steel. Wynn Stewart has been mentioned as one of the founding fathers of the Bakersfield sound and Merle Haggard and Buck Owens have been placed in the center of the narrative. However, there are so many other stories and sounds to be found in Bakersfield in the period between 1940 and 1974 that the box covers. Among the many interesting artists are one of the unsung heroes of Bakersfield, Billy Mize, who was portrayed in William J. Saunders' documentary Billy Mize & the Bakersfield Sound (2014).
Press Archive - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - country route news
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — When Buck Owens and Merle Haggard emerged from the dim lights, thick smoke and loud, loud music of Bakersfield, California's thriving honky-tonk scene of the ’50s and ’60s, they changed country music forever. “We represent the end results of all the years of country music in this town,” Haggard once remarked about the California city that served as home base for the two Country Music Hall of Fame inductees.
But how were the twin pillars of the “Bakersfield Sound” shaped by the Central California's city’s larger musical community? Who paved the way for their successes and who were their influences? The Bakersfield Sound 1940-1974 answers these questions and more.
Out from Bear Family on August 9, 2019, this sprawling 10-CD box set is the first multi-disc anthology to cover Bakersfield's country music heritage. Diving deep into the “Bakersfield Sound,” the compilation’s 307 tracks include plenty of fan favorites as well as a vast quantity of deep cuts, alternate takes, radio recordings, demos, live material, and previously unreleased studio recordings.
The massive collection begins with ’40s field recordings of migrants who arrived in Central California to find a better life, and proceeds to trace the development of this historic country music scene all the way through 1974. A turning point year for the Bakersfield Sound, 1974 stands as the last full year Merle Haggard made his home in the city; the year of Buck Owens’ final Top 10 hit as a solo artist; and the year local guitar hero Don Rich was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Offering a glimpse into the early days of the Bakersfield Sound are rare recordings from early pioneers Tex Butler, Tex Marshall, and Ebb Pilling, along with a Bakersfield radio studio performance by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys from the mid-’40s. During this era, Bakersfield served as a regular major tour stop for this fabled Western Swing ensemble.
Press Archive - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - themusicuniverse.com
When Buck Owens and Merle Haggard emerged from the dim lights, thick smoke and loud, loud music of Bakersfield, California’s thriving honky-tonk scene of the 50’s and 60’s, they changed country music forever. “We represent the end results of all the years of country music in this town,” Haggard once remarked about the California city that served as home base for the two Country Music Hall of Fame inductees. But how were the twin pillars of the “Bakersfield Sound” shaped by the Central California’s city’s larger musical community? Who paved the way for their successes and who were their influences? The Bakersfield Sound 1940-1974 answers these questions and more. Due from Bear Family on August 9th, this sprawling 10 CD box set is the first multi-disc anthology to cover Bakersfield’s country music heritage. Diving deep into the “Bakersfield Sound,” the compilation’s 307 tracks include plenty of fan favorites as well as a vast quantity of deep cuts, alternate takes, radio recordings, demos, live material, and previously unreleased studio recordings. The massive collection begins with 40’s field recordings of migrants who arrived in Central California to find a better life, and proceeds to trace the development of this historic country music scene all the way through 1974.

Press Archive - Various Artists - The Bakersfield Sound 1940 - 1974 - Billboard
Bear Family Records' upcoming The Bakersfield Sound 1940-1970 box set, due out Aug. 9, was a labor of love for producer Scott Bomar. He found even more to love when he was presented with was thought to be a lost early recording of Merle Haggard singing "I'm Gonna Break Every Heart I Can," featured on the box and premiering exclusively below.

Haggard recorded the version included on the set for the independent Tally Records label, where Haggard was signed before Capitol. "I'd heard he'd recorded it for Tally, but nobody ever heard it and it was assumed it was lost," Bomar -- who also annotated Omnivore Records' recent Buck Owens reissues -- tells Billboard. "When I started beating the bushes and putting things together, someone handed me a tape box that was just labeled 'Merle' -- I think it was under somebody's bed somewhere -- and said, 'I don't know if anything on here would be of any interest, but check it out to see.' It turned out to be the original version of that song, which is quite a bit different than the Capitol version he recorded a few years later. It was a real find, quite a nice historical glimpse into that moment in the studio."