Reliving 5 Classic Country Rock Albums Of The ’60s
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Important ’60s Records
Country rock may have reached its peak in the 1970s but its roots can be traced back to the ’40s or ’50s. Gram Parsons is, of course, one of those who brought it to the mainstream audience. Mixing country and rock is nothing short of magical. And the following albums have went down in history as some of the best that this genre had to offer.
The ’60s was an interesting time in music since there were experimentations left and right and rock acts were breaking new sonic grounds. Now here are five of the greatest country rock albums of that decade.
5. Dillard & Clark – “The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark” (1968)
It didn’t chart and is often overshadowed by the more popular LPs of the year but that’s not to say it’s not a landmark album. It’s soulful, exciting, and different. From the arrangements to the musicianship, it’s beautiful and spectacular all throughout – it can only be described as a musical masterpiece. It was a commercial failure though, mostly because they didn’t tour in support of the LP. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most influential country rock records of the ’60s.
4. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bayou Country” (1969)
The first of three albums that Creedence Clearwater Revival released in 1969, “Bayou Country” contains some of John Fogerty’s greatest compositions. The title track and “Proud Mary” helped the LP achieve success and even though it only peaked at #7 on the US Billboard 200, it’s widely considered as an important album in country rock. And it features one excellent song after another.
3. The Flying Burrito Brothers – “The Gilded Palace of Sin” (1969)
The Flying Burrito Brothers basically helped lay down the foundation of country rock with their debut LP. More than just country and folk, they also added elements of gospel, psychedelia, and soul. When Gram Parsons left The Byrds, he and bassist Chris Hillman formed their own group. Number-wise, it wasn’t a massive commercial success upon its release. But over the years, more and more people acknowledged its brilliance. It’s innovative and still sounds fresh decades later.
2. The Byrds – “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” (1968)
Before forming The Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons lent his genius to The Byrds and helped create what can only be described as the work of a musical genius. They didn’t invent country rock but they refined the sound. There’s a singularity flowing from one song to the next and with Parsons at the helm, the musicianship is hands-down impressive.
1. Bob Dylan – “Nashville Skyline” (1969)
Although he tried dipping his toes in country territory with “John Wesley Harding,” it wasn’t until “Nashville Skyline” when he fully immersed himself into the genre. It’s a warm and charming record and while the album itself became a turning point for Dylan, another notable feature of the LP was his soft croon which was basically unheard of at that point. He attributed his vocal change to quitting smoking but whatever it is, his voice suited the songs. It may have a few weak moments but even those overlooked tracks are still quite decent. Overall, it’s an enjoyable listening experience.