Chartbusters USA: Special Country Edition
Ace Records’s latest entry in their Chartbusters USA compilation series—one that compiles songs that were successful on the charts yet may seemingly be obscure today, often in the rarer “single mix” version form that sometimes is ignored in reissues—is dedicated to the phenomenon of the country crossover. The liner notes highlights the unreliability of the charts, as many artists rightly deserved recognition on the Pop and Hot 100 charts, yet were seemingly ignored for no justifiable reason, save, perhaps, for the chart compilers’ disdain for country music.
The two dozen artists found here range from household names to one-hit wonders, while the songs from more established artists tend to be more obscure than those who burned brightly with a single song. Johnny Cash’s “Understand Your Man,” Tammy Wynette’s “Singing My Song,” Glen Campbell’s “I Wanna Live,” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)” are more modest numbers in their individual discographies, but they’re still fine songs, and fit nicely beside big hits like Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee,” Buck Owens’ “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail,” and George Jones’ “The Race Is On.” Hearing the sole pop hits of Jeannie C. Riley (“Harper Valley PTA”), Tommy Cash (“Six White Horses”), Henson Cargill (“Skip A Rope”), and Del Reeves (“Girl On The Billboard”) reminds that some of the best country songs didn’t always provide the stars with a name.
Chartbusters USA feels less like a compilation and more like a time machine that takes you to sixty minutes of one of the coolest Country radio stations you never got to hear.