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The Current State Of Classic Country on Streaming Services

ThatM1key

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I noticed that every decade of music (on streaming services) down you go, the less care there is. The less popular genres is basically a even less caring multiplier with decades. In this thread, I wanted to focus on 1970s & below country.The lack of care ranges and varies. The issues are wrong version (Ex: re-recording), bad sound quality, wrong info entirely, etc.

I initially had the Spotify tracks embedded but they took up too much space. Spotify URLs would be automatically converted if you set them to links. I placed a "1" in the URL to prevent this and can be removed to access. Although I did add YouTube ones that match. The YouTube ones do take up a good amount of space but they don't space everything out and text around it stays the same.

Re-Recordings:

A good example of re-recordings is Johnny Cash and George Jones. Both artists have re-recorded there music, usually 10 years later from the first release. Rarely a re-recording can sound better, which I think George Jones' "Seasons Of My Heart" is a great example, both versions. For a person that's just getting into Classic Country, its hard to tell which is the original. Live recordings are easy to spot since there marked but re-recordings are rarely marked. Sometimes the re-recordings are mixed with Originals, a common example is King-Music/Gusto compilation & artist-based albums.

Seasons Of My Heart Original: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/5R2oGmskYXAbba0s0y7SDA?si=cd8638a0e0324dfc
YT:

Seasons Of My Heart Re-Recording (Sped up from other re-recording?): h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/2jCgerK7ZxRiaA3fxPkZVF?si=445bbcfe747e4d82
YT:

Seasons Of My Heart Another Re-Recording: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/0Or4EEb5pO2pSIfmrMcn1M?si=8bc5c5e19d8b4de2
YT:

The various versions of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" on Spotify.
Screenshot 2024-04-18 163508.jpg


Another great example of is Porter Wagoner's "Green Green Grass Of Home"

Re-Recording: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/6Ss6vCdWHgCuiB3icgBAwY?si=9706b5e7885342b2
YT (Same song different cover):

The Original: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/3FfZtZlkEIYrXiUiXEnT3c?si=76308909cf514e44
YT:

Sound Quality:

Usually if the song is popular enough, it'll be released on various amount of CDs which in turn gets turned up onto streaming services. These CDs usually are artist-based & compilations from the 1980s to 1990s CDs, and usually offer good sound quality. A good example is the "Columbia Country Classics" and the "RCA Country Legends", both are series'. 2000s and above albums have a higher chance of having bad sound quality and even re-recording. A great example of this is "Country's Greatest Hits Of The 60's - Vol 2". Although most "The Essential" artist-based albums are made well. If there is enough care, the original song with its original album will be available with usually good sound quality. When you search for a song you'll get a buffet of different versions and if your lucky the original versions. From my experience these original versions range from awful to superb. The ones in the middle (In terms of quality) sometimes have a treble boost and/or bass boost, mild to high amount of boost. Mono & Stereo mixes are rarely marked and go hand & hand with sound quality. On lossless streaming services there's always the chance of the "Hi-res" actually being worse then "CD Quality".

A great example of "Original Version but terrible sound quality" is Billy Walker's "Charlie's Shoes". This example is also a great test of you hearing details and how clean your system is.

A dreadful version: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/5FZ9LCUy2zddr8GEd0pN5B?si=2c17dbff4bb846c2
YT: N/A

A good version: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/3UzrIqxMmxDSaC1RIWbUat?si=6d2652c261e044f3
YT: Wouldn't be a fair comparison for non-spotify people.

I present of you a example of "Original version but adding echo" is Ray Price's "Crazy Arms". Subjectively I like the extra echo version. It fits it very well since many artists back then had echo added, some mild, some extreme. Objectively it technically ruins it.

Original (Came with Mild Echo when released originally): h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/2cwGK6ZYfiZ1EZva2VEKSN?si=99d69492e1b444ab
YT:

Original (Came with Extra Echo when released in 1989): h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/5Ok0MajTa5qstqlZXG1ezJ?si=2c6ca2f722554f29
YT:

The Lookout:

A quick overview/order when looking for specific country songs with OG version & sound quality on streaming services. I call it the order of luckiness.

  1. Search up the song on a Wiki/Discogs for the original timestamp & compare.
  2. Find the original album.
  3. Find a "The Essentials" album including that song.
  4. Find that song in a 1980s-1990s compilation.
  5. Find that song in a Gusto Records artist-based/compilation album.
  6. Find that song in a "Random" artist-based/compilation album.
  7. Search on other platforms and repeat (Unless your tired).


Resources for Spotify URL (Remove the 1):
George Jones - Seasons Of My Heart Original: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/5R2oGmskYXAbba0s0y7SDA?si=cd8638a0e0324dfc
George Jones - Seasons Of My Heart Re-Recording: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/2jCgerK7ZxRiaA3fxPkZVF?si=445bbcfe747e4d82
Porter Wagoner's - Green Green Grass Of Home Original: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/3FfZtZlkEIYrXiUiXEnT3c?si=76308909cf514e44
Porter Wagoner's - Green Green Grass Of Home Re-Recording: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/6Ss6vCdWHgCuiB3icgBAwY?si=9706b5e7885342b2
Billy Walker - Charlie's Shoes Bad Version: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/5FZ9LCUy2zddr8GEd0pN5B?si=2c17dbff4bb846c2
Billy Walker - Charlie's Shoes Good Version: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/3UzrIqxMmxDSaC1RIWbUat?si=6d2652c261e044f3
Ray Price - Crazy Arm's Original: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/2cwGK6ZYfiZ1EZva2VEKSN?si=99d69492e1b444ab
Ray Price - Crazy Arm's 1989 Re-Release: h1ttps://open.spotify.com/track/5Ok0MajTa5qstqlZXG1ezJ?si=2c6ca2f722554f29
 
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If I want to listen to pre 70's C&W I use the turntable. That's the sort of genre that screams for low-fi most of the time until you get into Bakersfield era recordings and things start to blur.

No, I'm not ancient but that's all I listened to growing up rurally because that's what my dad listened to on vinyl, then 8 track etc + radio. I rebelled at the time of course and dove into post punk head first but have come back to fully appreciating so much of it. Fortunately, my dad gave me all those records years ago and I'm glad I still have them.
 
If I want to listen to pre 70's C&W I use the turntable. That's the sort of genre that screams for low-fi most of the time until you get into Bakersfield era recordings and things start to blur.
I would say pre 50's country is pretty low-fi, like Hank Williams (sadly). Lefty Frizzell's fidelity is so much better then Hank Williams', from what I noticed. I would argue 1960s country and above had great fidelity (Ex: Hank Thompson - Six Pack To Go). Although 70s country felt too pop-ey, it had really good fidelity.

No, I'm not ancient but that's all I listened to growing up rurally because that's what my dad listened to on vinyl, then 8 track etc + radio. I rebelled at the time of course and dove into post punk head first but have come back to fully appreciating so much of it. Fortunately, my dad gave me all those records years ago and I'm glad I still have them.
I grew up with my fathers CD collection which was partly 90s country. In my mid to late teens, I discovered more and more 70s and above country. 20 and above, I started to dive deeper into 70s and below country because modern country was just yuck. Before my teens, I knew a little bit classic country though oldies CDs and decade-specific internet stations (Ex: Johnny Horton, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves). I mean I did know Hank Williams existed but didn't know George Jones existed back then. Back to my higher teens, I collected a lot of country records but never truly enjoyed them. At that point I didn't enjoy playing records because it just felty gimmicky and the wallet reflected that. CDs were a better value and digital just sounded better.

If I had to pick the "correct/best" way to experience classic country is a jukebox full of 45's instead of home release albums.
 
If I had to pick the "correct/best" way to experience classic country
I vote for an AM radio at a barbershop. A place with linoleum floors, a few molded fiberglass chairs, a stack of Field & Stream magazines, run by a guy with fading Navy tattoo on his forearm and a haircut you could set your watch to.

Nostalgia aside, many classic recordings were made either at the Columbia 30th Street Studio or RCA Nashville. I'd assume recordings from either facility started out at exceptional quality, modulo many decades of tapes being sold, mishandled, mislabeled and so forth. Starday, well now, that's a different question.
 
If I had to pick the "correct/best" way to experience classic country is a jukebox full of 45's instead of home release albums.
Absolutely, that's the way I experienced them all, in the honky-tonk, stop & sock, after midnight biker bars
all over Northern IL and Southern WI. If you make it thru 20-30 years of that lifestyle you know and love the genre
and learned the fine art of barroom war at the same time. From Hank Sr to Hank Jr, I love and respect them all. ;)
 
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