The first episode of the Ken Burns Country Music documentary tasked itself to define what country music is by delving deep into its origins and original purveyors. The second episode called “Hard Times” began the work of explaining why the music means so much to so many people.
While Nashville country was awash in strings and suffering under the oppressive thumb of producers such as Chet Atkins and Billy Sherrill, the dim lights, thick smoke, and loud loud music of The Bakersfield Sound was keeping boots shuffling and country twangy. Unheard Merle Haggard tracks and other rarities are included in new box set.
Fans of country music most all recognize the name of Bob Wills as the King of Western Swing. But if you’re listening to the music of Bob Wills, it’s often Leon Rausch you hear singing. A fixture of Western Swing for some 60 years and known as “The Voice of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys,” Leon Rausch has passed away.