A couple of weeks ago, about the same time as I resolved to get rid of my CDs, I set about another task I’d been meaning to do for some time: assembling a bunch of my favourite country-tinged tunes on Spotify. As they started to accumulate in the one playlist, I pondered: why not make it chronological, then I can easily add new songs when I hear them, and keep it current? Then I told myself: no need to be quite so anal, and executed a few tweaks which made it not strictly chronological but ensured that everything flows.
Further tinkering ensued when I realised that I had no idea what actually happened to country-rock between about 1977-1984, and figuring it might be jarring to go from the Eagles to, say, Green on Red, went down a rabbit hole to look for more tunes. I also noticed that my knowledge around the start was a bit lacking – didn’t Gene Clark invent this stuff? But he listened to Dylan – so I added some songs to the beginning, many of which, you’ll notice, come from two compilations: Bakersfield Rebels and Tuff’n’Stringy, both of which are a little short on release details – where were those CD inlay cards when I needed them? – but feature recordings dating from 1965-1968.
I also tried to stick to the iron rule of one song per artist, although true trainspotters will notice that Gram Parsons appears three times: with the Byrds, the Burritos and Emmylou. Because, as the young folk say, well, because Gram. It was hard also to avoid three different doses of Gene Clark.
In the absence of a good old country baptising down by the creek (or similar), the final step was to play the compilation all the way through, with friends and a few beers. We got as far as the 1990s before being beaten by the cold. Although it may now be some time until I can face hearing another pedal steel, do please let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed (like, were Poco ever any good?); I’d be happy to hear this stretch to the 10-hour mark, so long as we can keep the quality control up.