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403 Segments




Wanda Jackson Was More than a Country Star

In the 1950s, Elvis Presley encouraged Jackson to sing rockabilly. She was notable for writing and performing her own independent and forceful songs, says rock historian Ed Ward. Her sexual persona matched Presley's, but proved to be a detriment to her career -- so she returned to country music.


Two Women Rockers Return to Their Country Roots

Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews two new country albums by women singers. Carlene Carter's I Fell in Love features her first hit song; Kelly Willis's Well Traveled Love showcases her rich voice. Both records are uneven but satisfying.


New Albums by Three Ragged Singer-Songwriters

Rock critic Ken Tucker says critical darlings David Berwald and John Hiatt are striving for a commercial sound, but their new, dolorous albums fall flat. On the other hand, Steve Earle's The Hard Way -- the latter half at least -- delivers the goods.


Music You Might Not Hear on the Radio.

Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews what he thinks are some of the best new albums on independent labels...The Spanic Boys' debut album on Rounder Records and Ben Vaughn's new album on Enigma, "Dressed in Black."


An Unparallelled Document of Time and Talent.

Rock historian Ed Ward plays us some tracks from the "Million Dollar Quartet" sessions. It was an early 60s recording date at the Sun Studios in Memphis, featuring Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash.


Father and Son Duo "The Spanic Boys."

Musicians Tom and Ian Spanic. Together, the pair form the rock and roll band, The Spanic Boys. The band plays a country-twang influenced type of rock and they just released their first album, also called "The Spanic Boys." It's on Rounder Records.


A Little Known Blues Singer.

Rock and roll historian Ed Ward tells the story of "Rabbit" Brown, a little-known New Orleans blues singer from the 20s who made some of the most haunting music you'll ever hear.


Country Music's First Boom.

Rock historian Ed Ward looks back at the birth of the country music industry, during the early days of Fiddlin' John Carson, A.P. Carter and his wife, Sarah, and the Tenneva Ramblers.


Country Music Returns to its Roots.

Rock critic Ken Tucker looks at the "New Traditionalism" in country music as performed by such singers as Randy Travis and Rodney Crowell, and with a unique twist by the Jayhawks.


Reevaluating Roy Orbison's "Sun Years."

Rock historian Ed Ward looks back on Roy Orbison's early career at Sun Records. Ed says that early work shows that Orbison was a more versatile performer that his big hits would indicate.


Two New Country "Hybrid" Albums.

Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews new albums by Webb Wilder and the quintet Billy Hill. Webb Wilder's "Hybrid Vigor" is an outsider's eccentric blend of rock and roll livened up with country, blues and rockabilly. Billy Hill has produced an album with a different type of eccentricity --they're Nashville insiders whose oddball act gives an edge to their country music.


A Musical Voice From the "Heartland."

Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews "Too Long in the Wasteland," the debut album of singer and songwriter James McMurtry. Like his father, the novelist Larry McMurtry, James McMurtry writes of the drifters and loners of the high plains.


Musician Lucinda Williams Discusses Her New Album.

Musician Lucinda Williams. She's been playing the folk and country scenes for most of the 80s, but her new album, titled "Lucinda Williams," is a type of straight-ahead story telling that crosses genres. Many listeners think of Williams as a folk singer, but in this album, Williams fronts a rock band.


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