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

$102.49

Country - Released September 21, 2018 | Capitol Records Nashville

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Country - Released November 4, 1997 | Mercury Nashville

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Country - Released May 18, 1987 | MCA Nashville

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Country - Released December 4, 2015 | RLG - Legacy

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Country - Released June 15, 2015 | RCA Victor

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Country - Released April 3, 2015 | RLG - Legacy

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Country - Released January 1, 1967 | MCA Nashville

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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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Country - Released October 24, 2014 | Legacy Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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.
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Country - Released October 3, 2014 | Sony Special Products

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Billy Joe Shaver slipped onto the recording scene very quietly in 1973. He was already heralded a fine songwriter by Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings, but even they'd recorded one or two songs of his up to that point. After the issue of this debut album, however, the floodgates opened for Shaver with the aforementioned trio and Johnny Cash himself recording Billy Joe's songs -- a trend that continued 30 years later. Old Five and Dimers Like Me reveals a songwriter at the height of his power, a songwriter who undersells his case via quiet melodic music steeped in Texas country, folk, and the blues. While the title track is best known and the most often recorded (Waylon based his entire Honky Tonk Heroes around that track as the basis for an album of Shaver's tunes), each of this CD's 14 songs are gems. "Fit to Kill and Going Out in Style" became an anthem of the outlaw movement, and "Black Rose" echoes the Band's "Cripple Creek" with its funky country shuffle. The old-time honky tonk blues of "Played the Game Too Long" features a Dixieland horn section in the middle, and "Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me" became David Allan Coe's theme after "Long Haired Redneck." And "Low Down Freedom" is the most poignantly written song about what it costs others when a man decides he needs to be free. Shaver was a study in contradictions on this album and proved to be so in life as well. He was a big man on the cover, a rough and tumble farmer who liked his music hot and simple and wrote words like a poet laureate. His performances of his own songs have been derided in the past because of the supposed limitations in his voice. But though he may not produce the performance drama that some of his peers can, his versions of these songs are far more poignant than any cover version of them. Shaver has always possessed an elegant and humble sense of dignity; it's on this recording, and on each one that followed. Old Five and Dimers Like Me is a masterpiece not only as a genesis for outlaw country, but of American songwriting at its very best. ~ Thom Jurek
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Country - Released June 10, 2014 | Columbia

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Country - Released June 10, 2014 | Legacy - Columbia

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Country - Released June 10, 2014 | Columbia Nashville

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Country - Released November 5, 2013 | Omnivore Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Omnivore's 2013 double-disc set Buck Em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967) provides an interesting spin on Buck Owens: through a collection of mono singles, live tracks, alternate takes, early 45s, and other rarities, it tells an alternate history of Buck's prime years. If there's a hit on this 50-track collection, it's almost always in a version that's slightly different than what usually shows up on a standard greatest-hits. "Second Fiddle," "Love's Gonna Live Here," "I Don't Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)," "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," and "Before You Go" are all in mono, there's an early version of "Ain't It Amazing Gracie," and "Act Naturally" is live, so they're familiar enough to not feel jarring and they do provide the core of a collection that winds up wandering into some pretty interesting territory. This is one of the rare comps to take into consideration, sides Owens recorded before he signed to Capitol -- or, in other words, before he developed Bakersfield and his signature train rhythm -- opening with the pure honky tonk of "Down on the Corner of Love" and the rockabilly swing of "Hot Dog." With these pip singles included, the birth of Bakersfield Country is all the more dramatic and, as this ends in 1967 when Buck & the Buckaroos were still riding high on top of the country charts and before Owens' stardom was slightly tarnished by the cornpone Hee Haw, this focuses directly on his prime, when he was undoubtedly the biggest country star in America. True, Buck 'Em! may not have all the hits and it may take a few detours, but those detours are picturesque and necessary for fleshing out what winds up as a potent portrait of Buck at the peak of his powers. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Country - Released May 30, 2014 | Columbia

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Country - Released May 14, 2013 | Columbia Nashville Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Released after a series of star-making, genre-defining records -- and her first new collection of songs since her 1969 Greatest Hits -- Tammy Wynette's 1969 album The Ways to Love a Man found her and producer Billy Sherrill at cruising altitude, delivering an album that easily replicated the sound and feel of Stand by Your Man. If anything, the album felt a bit too easy, as Sherrill began making his productions smoother and silkier, sanding away any of the lingering rough country edges that were on Stand by Your Man, giving Tammy's impeccably luxurious surroundings. It's an appropriate setting for the First Lady of Country Music even if it ironically feels a bit more pop than country, but the key to Sherrill's productions was how he made them grand and then singers like Tammy or her husband George Jones grounded them. More than any of Sherrill's other vocalists, Tammy seemed to slide into the soft textures of his productions, and nowhere was that sound softer than it was on The Ways to Love a Man, where Tammy comfortably covered Johnny Mathis' "The Twelfth of Never." This may have been the only time on the record that she sang an old-fashioned crooner, yet the album retains a romantic mood, verging on being a countrypolitan make-out record (which is quite befitting for an LP called The Ways to Love a Man and whose biggest hit was the title track). This sustained mood is appealing, even seductive, but the album is just a shade less compelling overall than its immediate predecessor...but that is a pretty tough yardstick to judge any country album, really. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Country - Released January 1, 1994 | American Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Stereophile: Record To Die For
Johnny Cash was in the unenviable position of being a living legend who was beloved by fans of classic country music without being able to interest anyone in his most recent work when he was signed to Rick Rubin's American Recordings label in 1994. Rubin, best known for his work with edgy rockers and hip-hop acts, opted to produce Cash's first album for American, and as he tried to brainstorm an approach that would introduce Cash to a new audience, he struck upon a brilliant idea -- doing nothing. For American Recordings, Rubin simply set up some recording equipment in Cash's Tennessee cabin and recorded him singing a set of songs accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. The result is an album that captured the glorious details of Johnny Cash's voice and allowed him to demonstrate just how emotionally powerful an instrument he possessed. While Rubin clearly brought some material to Cash for these sessions -- it's hard to imagine he would have recorded tunes by Glenn Danzig or Tom Waits without a bit of prodding -- Cash manages to put his stamp on every tune on this set, and he also brought some excellent new songs to the table, including the Vietnam veteran's memoir "Drive On," the powerful testimony of faith "Redemption," and a sly but moving recollection of his wild younger days, "Like a Soldier." American Recordings became a critical sensation and a commercial success, though it was overrated in some quarters simply because it reminded audiences that one of America's greatest musical talents was still capable of making compelling music, something he had never stopped doing even if no one bothered to listen. Still, American Recordings did something very important -- it gave Cash a chance to show how much he could do with a set of great songs and no creative interference, and it afforded him the respect he'd been denied for so long, and the result is a powerful and intimate album that brought the Man in Black back to the spotlight, where he belonged. ~ Mark Deming
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Country - Released February 26, 2013 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio - Stereophile: Recording of the Month
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Country - Released December 3, 2010 | Legacy Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Holy hillbilly fiddlers, Batman! Ray Price left the honky tonk and hooked up with a string section! At least that's what country fans must have been thinking when they heard Ray Price's Burning Memories. Here, the only identifying country marker is the corny cowboy hat he's wearing on the cover. While it's easy to see why Price took so much guff from country diehards because this is a radical change from his Ernest Tubb-influenced honky tonk persona, it's still a badass country record, full of Floyd Cramer and Pig Robbins' pianos, Buddy Emmons' pedal steel, and Price's awesome baritone voice in its finest form ever. Begun in 1962, Burning Memories was the beginning of the Price transition from hillbilly singer to serious crossover smash. This is the album that boasts the stellar, timeless, and unforgettable "Make the World Go Away" by Hank Cochran and Eddie Miller's mind-blowing "Release Me," two Price signature tunes. In addition, there are amazing reads of Buck Owens' "Together Again," Conway Twitty's "Walk Me to the Door," and Willie Nelson's "Are You Sure," among others -- including Harlan Howard's fearsome nugget "You Took Her Off My Hands (Now Take Her Off My Mind)." Truth be told, Burning Memories holds no filler, which is astonishing for a country record from that era. Frank Jones' production is full of space and slippery genre blurs, and allows Price's ambition to soar without abandoning his strengths. Burning Memories, masterpiece that it is, is only available on CD as part of a two-fer series by Audium. The other record? The amazing follow-up, Touch My Heart. ~ Thom Jurek
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Country - Released November 2, 2010 | Legacy Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Two of a Kind includes only nine of the Wagoner and Parton's Top 40 C&W hits, but as an anthology for the curious, Two of a Kind is too idiosyncratic to be definitive. ~ Greg Adams