In 1950, a red-haired Alabama boy who'd learned about radio and electronics in the U.S. Army opened a recording studio to document the blues and country music he loved. A new box set compiles the beginnings of Sam Philipps'
Cash spent half a century in the limelight as a country singer turned American icon. Between 1958, when he first recorded for Columbia, until 1986, when it didn't renew his contract, he recorded more than 50 singles and 60 albums for the label.
Mike McGonigal runs the literary magazine Yeti. In his spare time, he's been collecting gospel 45s on vanity and tiny independent labels for years. He's now released a pair of three-CD sets featuring amazing, long-forgotten African-American gospel tracks from his collection.
Skaggs became a mainstream country music star in the 1980s, but in recent years, he's become more interested in performing in a traditional bluegrass style. Ken Tucker says the tracks on Skaggs' album Mosaic "don't just fit together -- they lock into place with a firmness."
Jones has been a pop star since 1965, when he released his first single, "It's Not Unusual." Since that time, he's remained a star overseas, while resurfacing periodically on the American pop charts. Rock critic Ken Tucker review his latest album, a collection of gospel, blues and soul covers called Praise and Blame.
Randolph emerged from a gospel music tradition, playing steel guitar in the so-called "sacred steel" style of some African-American Pentecostal churches. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews his new album, We Walk This Road, which features original tunes and covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Prince and John Lennon.