Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

£38.99£67.49

Country - Released September 21, 2018 | Capitol Records Nashville

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More than eight and a half hours of music! Bobby Gentry absolutely deserves such a generous celebration, even though her glory years only really lasted about a decade. Retiring in the early 1980s into total anonymity, this great voice of the 1960s and 1970s is presented here in a deluxe selection. Across 8 records, 177 tracks are brought together: her six studio albums for Capitol (Ode to Billie Joe from 1967, The Delta Sweete and Local Gentry from 1968, Touch ‘Em With Love from 1969, Fancy from 1970 and  Patchwork from 1971), the record she made with Glen Campbell in 1968 and over 70 unreleased tracks including alternative takes, demos, BBC live recordings and all kinds of rarities! Hidden behind the mystery of her premature retirement and the cult following which has only grown with time remain these songs. Bobbie Gentry was more than just a simple country, folk and pop singer like so many others of her generation. Only Bobby could’ve written hits like Mornin' Glory, Fancy, Okolona River Bottom Band, Chickasaw County Child and most famous of all, covered the world over, Ode to Billie Joe, the fascinating story of the suicide of the mysterious Billie Joe McAllister who leapt from Tallahatchie Bridge. In France, Joe Dassin would go on to put a French spin on the song: Billie Joe became Marie-Jeanne and the Tallahatchie Bridge became the bridge over the Garonne… There is class, freedom and striking sensuality in Bobbie Gentry's voice. There are also brilliant arrangements and an instrumentation that line up perfectly with the songs, from slightly kitschy lounge strings (but they're so cool) to a simple guitar that clings to the contours of her voice. Bobbie Gentry was never fully country, fully pop, fully soul or fully folk. She was Bobbie Gentry. Full stop. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Country - Released November 4, 1997 | Mercury Nashville

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Shania Twain's second record, The Woman in Me, became a blockbuster, appealing as much to a pop audience as it did to the country audience. Part of the reason for its success was how producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange -- best-known for his work with Def Leppard, the Cars, and AC/DC -- steered Twain toward the big choruses and instrumentation that always was a signature of his speciality, AOR radio. Come on Over, the sequel to The Woman in Me, continues that approach, breaking from contemporary country conventions in a number of ways. Not only does the music lean toward rock, but its 16 songs and, as the cover proudly claims, "Hour of Music," break from the country tradition of cheap, short albums of ten songs that last about a half-hour. Furthermore, all 16 songs and Lange-Twain originals and Shania's sleek, sexy photos suggest a New York fashion model, not a honky tonker. And there isn't any honky tonk here, which is just as well, since the fiddles are processed to sound like synthesizers and talk boxes never sound good on down-home, gritty rave-ups. No, Shania sticks to what she does best, which is countrified mainstream pop. Purists will complain that there's little country here, and there really isn't. However, what is here is professionally crafted country-pop -- even the filler (which there is, unfortunately, too much of) sounds good -- which is delivered with conviction, if not style, by Shania, and that is enough to make it a thoroughly successful follow-up to one of the most successful country albums by a female in history. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Country - Released November 4, 1997 | Mercury Nashville

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Country - Released March 5, 1986 | MCA Nashville

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Country - Released May 18, 1987 | MCA Nashville

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Country - Released October 17, 1988 | Geffen* Records

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Country - Released April 18, 2016 | Light In The Attic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Reissued by HackTone after its original CD issue in 1995, Heartworn Highways is the sonic companion to the classic 1981 documentary of the same name. David Gorman goes out of his way to tell listeners/purchasers that this disc is not the soundtrack to the film because there never was one. HackTone "had to go back to the original film elements and Nagra tapes with the film's editor and producer to create one," according to Gorman. They "spent months working between them and an audio restoration engineer in New York to make a stand-alone album out of audio that works perfectly well while watching the film but would sound horribly disjointed otherwise. In fact, most of the performances in the film are edited down to about 1/4 their original length." This is key because it must have been a very painful process at time--especially during the 'round table' recordings on Christmas Eve at the end of the album. The microphone was literally in motion during the entire evening, trying to capture whoever was singing lead; but you'd never know it by listening to the CD. The breathtaking sound quality is a credit to restoration engineer Alan Silverman. A number of performances were left off in order to make this fit onto a single disc. What is here is a vintage treasure trove of the then-emerging singer/songwriter movement from the (mostly) American South. What is most important to note is that these performances were recorded for the documentary; they are not licensed recordings from a catalog. Some of the artists included here are no longer with us, but their performances (e.g., Townes Van Zandt's "Waitin' 'Round to Die" and "Pancho and Lefty," Gamble Rogers' "Charlie's Place" and "The Black Label Blues") are chilling and top-notch. Yet, they are in context because these infromal performances are stunning throughout. Some of the truly notable ones are by songwriters who are not well known even now among the general populus -- for example, the great Steve Young, who decided on deeply moving covers of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" along with his own "Alabama Highway". Youngis the guy who wrote "Seven Bridges Road," "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean" (the anthem of Waylon's outlaw movement that didn't include him--though, who was an outlaw long before it became a marketing concept)--and his "Montgomery in the Rain." is also here. Larry Jon Wilson makes an appearance with his deep backwoods "Ohoopee River Bottomland," which is equal parts Tony Joe White and Lightnin' Hopkins, all of it wrapped in Young's swampy Georgia voice and guitar playing. Guy Clark is heard on five cuts, three of them well known, but "Ballad of Laverne and Captain Flint" makes it too. Other writers here include David Allan Coe and John Hiatt, both of whom originally hailed from the Midwest. Hearing Coe in this setting is especially rewarding, almost separated from his bullshit image, just playing and singing his utterly moving songs, especially "I Still Sing the Old Songs," done with only an acoustic guitar. The glimpses listeners get of Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle apart from the slick Nashville production on their own records is especially refreshing. This is a timeless collection that truly stands on its own whether or not you saw the film in 1981 (it is available on DVD thank goodness). It's a no-jive set of songwriters doing what they do best away from the hype, the myth-making, and the self-destructive impulses that have plagued many of them. ~ Thom Jurek
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Country - Released December 4, 2015 | RLG - Legacy

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Of the three 2007 Dolly Parton reissues from Sony, Jolene is the most absorbing musically and the most problematic lyrically. A sparkling production creates a rich backdrop for both "Jolene" and "When Someone Wants to Leave" (both Parton originals), mixing acoustic guitar, country instruments (steel guitar, dobro), and light percussion. This tasteful mix, nicely spread across the stereo spectrum with Parton front and center, is a joy to listen to. Lyrically, however, these songs are a long way from Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man." Parton's female protagonists are downright pitiful, adrift in a world where a more attractive woman might take their man, where a woman cannot let go of a man who no longer loves her, and where a man is the "highlight" of her life ("Highlight of My Life.") Jolene, originally released in 1974, feels like a shot across the bow of the feminist movement, a reaffirmation that many women still liked the men to wear the pants (women, presumably, who listened to old-fashioned country music). This seems somewhat peculiar now, in that no one -- looking at her long, distinguished career and commanding stage presence -- would accuse Parton of being a weak-kneed songbird. Still, the music and Parton's vocal prowess are in top form on Jolene, and "I Will Always Love You" is one of her best performances (which is saying a lot). Like it or loath it, Jolene offers a fascinating snapshot of an era in transition, and captures Parton at the top of her game. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
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Country - Released October 16, 2015 | Charly

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Blues - Released January 1, 1965 | Geffen*

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Country - Released June 15, 2015 | RCA Victor

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Country - Released April 3, 2015 | RLG - Legacy

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Blues - Released January 1, 1986 | Island Mercury

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Blues - Released February 24, 2015 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Born in 1888, Huddie Ledbetter was the son of a sharecropper; he was born on a Louisiana plantation and learned to play guitar after long days working on his father's farm. After he struck out on his own at the age of 16, Ledbetter's life was full of adventures, both good and bad and including a murder conviction, but while in prison he picked up the nickname Lead Belly, and after writing a handful of great songs (and learning a hundred more) that he made his own with his passionate vocal style that melded blues and folk styles and his distinctive 12-string guitar work, he was freed and became one of the most influential folk artists in American music. Lead Belly recorded literally hundreds of songs over the course of his career (including a number of archival sessions recorded for the Library of Congress), and his music would influence a striking array of artists, from Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Odetta to Van Morrison, John Fogerty, and Kurt Cobain. The Smithsonian Folkways Collection is a five-disc box set that represents the first attempt to offer a career-spanning overview of the career of a giant of American music, including 108 tracks, 16 of which see their first release on this collection. ~ Mark Deming
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Blues - Released January 1, 1999 | Geffen*

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Country - Released January 1, 1978 | Universal Music

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Blues - Released January 1, 1986 | Mercury Records

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Country - Released January 1, 1967 | MCA Nashville

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The title track was one of those defining songs for Loretta Lynn, not only one of the best but one of the most likeable country & western artists. She bats one home run after another in these vocals, singing her brains out and coming across as totally convincing in each role she takes on. The cynical "I Got Caught" is one of her finer originals, while she also has the knack of picking covers that suit her perfectly, such as "The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight" by the underrated Buddy Mize. No country fan will mind that she covers a number by her old sidekick, Ernest Tubb. Then there's the pickers who came along for the ride, totally tearing it up. The series of lead guitar/pedal steel interchanges that run through this album are certainly more attractive than the Nashville freeway system, and definitely contributed more to 20th century civilization. Lynn would later record the song "You're Lookin' at Country," and that pretty much sums up the view of this mighty lady. This here is stone-cold country, and it doesn't get much better. ~ Eugene Chadbourne
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Folk - Released November 24, 2014 | Columbia

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Country - Released October 24, 2014 | Legacy Recordings

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On first listen, it's not unreasonable to think that writer/producer Dan Penn's 1973 solo debut, NOBODY'S FOOL, is a bit schlocky. The songs are there, but amidst all the studio bombast it's difficult to suss out the deft touch that Penn brought to soul classics like "I'm Your Puppet"and "The Dark End of the Street." To give up too soon, though, would be to neglect what is an ambitious, impassioned attempt to encompass the entire southern musical tradition into a single musical statement. Penn sounds not unlike "Suspicious Minds"-era Elvis on orchestrated R&B tracks like "Time" and "Ain't No Love," and while "Prayer for Peace" sounds like an interlude from a Southern-gothic rock opera, it's clear that Penn means every word of his plea. With the exception of a CCR cover, Penn wrote (or co-wrote) and produced the entire album, and is backed by a crew of Memphis's finest. As is often the case with albums by those who became famous working behind the scenes, NOBODY'S FOOL suffers a bit from excess, as if every idea in Penn's head had to be put to tape immediately. But the man's love of music (all of it: rock, pop, country, gospel, blues, soul, etc.) is so genuine and so blind to categories, one can't help being taken in by this quiet masterpiece.