As part of Honky Toker's quest to Make America Cosmic Again, I present to you this entirely subjective list of 50 essential albums for attaining higher country music consciousness. I'm not aiming to rank the "best" or most "influential" country music recordings of all time, this Top 50 caters to a different set of criteria: basically amounting to my favorite country records to get high to.
I restricted myself to including only one album per artist (to avoid having Merle Haggard's catalog comprising half this list), and it only covers recordings spanning 1967-1987--so don't freak out that there's nothing by Hank Williams on this list. But I'm sure there's plenty else about it that will confuse and frustrate people (at least the type of people that take the time to read these exercises in self-
indulgence and futility).
Redwing Redwing ('71)
The early 70's spawned a surplus of boogie rock and country soul bands, and unfortunately Redwing got overlooked in the deluge. It might have been due to the fact that they were based in Sacramento--hundreds of miles from the country rock scene's epicenter in Southern California--but Redwing's cowtown roots gave them a shit-kicker edge that distinguished them from the laid-back Eagles and Poco.
Predictably (for the time), their sound had an identifiable Byrds influence, but they veered off from there by incorporating Kinks-esque power chords and bluegrass vocal harmonies reminiscent of The Osborne Brothers. Oddly, the combination works, with Redwing sounding like Cream trying to sound like The Allman Brothers.
Brian Eno said that only 30,000 people ever bought a Velvet Underground album, but every one of them started a band. I wouldn't be a damned bit surprised if Steve Earle or at least one member of Drive By Truckers and The Bottle Rockets owns a copy of this album.