Country USA (Time-Life Music)

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Country USA was a 23-volume series issued by Time-Life Music during the late 1980s and early 1990s, spotlighting country music of the 1950s through early 1970s.

Each volume in the series chronicled a specific year in country music, from 1950 through 1972, and was issued on a double-length compact disc or cassette, or two vinyl albums. Individual volumes contained 24 tracks, usually representing the year's most popular and important songs. Also included was a booklet, containing liner notes written by some of the most respected historians of the genre, photographs of the artists, and information on the songs (writers, performers and peak position on Billboard magazine's country charts).

All told, the entire series contains 552 tracks.

History[edit]

"Country USA" was first issued during the summer of 1988, and is pattered after Time-Life's successful "Rock'n'Roll Era" and "Your Hit Parade" series. It represented Time-Life's first real attempt at chronicling country music's post-1950 history; earlier in the 1980s, Time-Life had a budget "Country Series" and the later "Country & Western Classics."

During its peak, the "Country USA" series was advertised in television and magazine advertisements. The series was available by subscription (by calling a 1-800 number); those who purchased the series in that fashion received a new volume roughly every other month (on the format of their choice), and had the option of keeping just the volumes they wanted. Each volume was also offered for individual sale.

New volumes continued to be issued through 1991. Another series, "Contemporary Country," essentially picked up where "Country USA" left off, as that series covered the 1970s through early 1990s.

Time-Life continued to offer "Country USA" through the early first decade of the 21st century. The series has essentially been replaced by "Classic Country." Three newer series — "Country Gold," "Superstars of Country" and "Lifetime of Country Romance" — have also since been issued.

Critics widely hailed "Country USA" as a definitive overview of the genre during what some refer to as the Golden Age. In many cases, the songs offered on each volume represented the first time they had ever been re-released on compact disc. However, critics tempered their praise by pointing out a few minor faults, such as the exclusion of some tracks (in lieu of songs that weren't necessarily hits) and alternate versions/re-recordings of some hits.

The series[edit]

The track listings below represent the sequencing on the compact discs. While the sequencing is identical on the records and cassettes, some songs may be on different sides.

Also, while the years will be listed sequentially under the track listing section, the "Country USA" series was not issued sequentially by year. The series was issued in the following order:

Track listing[edit]

1950[edit]

Cover: Little Jimmy Dickens

1951[edit]

Cover: Lefty Frizzell

1952[edit]

Cover: Hank Williams

1953[edit]

Cover: Bill Carlisle

1954[edit]

Cover: Eddy Arnold

1955[edit]

Cover: Louvin Brothers

  • "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young" – Faron Young
  • "I've Been Thinking" – Eddy Arnold
  • "There She Goes" – Carl Smith
  • "When I Stop Dreaming" – The Louvin Brothers
  • "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" – Elvis Presley
  • "Yellow Roses" – Hank Snow
  • "Love, Love, Love" – Webb Pierce
  • "Why Baby Why" – George Jones
  • "Sixteen Tons" – Tennessee Ernie Ford
  • "Just Call Me Lonesome" – Eddy Arnold
  • "Making Believe" – Kitty Wells
  • "It Tickles" – Tommy Collins
  • "Mystery Train" – Elvis Presley
  • "In the Jailhouse Now" – Webb Pierce
  • "Cry! Cry! Cry!!" – Johnny Cash
  • "All Right" – Faron Young
  • "Eat Drink and Be Merry (Tomorrow You'll Cry)" – Porter Wagoner
  • "The Cattle Call" – Eddy Arnold
  • "Wildwood Flower" – Hank Thompson
  • "As Long As I Live" – Red Foley & Kitty Wells
  • "Kisses Don't Lie" – Carl Smith
  • "A Satisfied Mind" – Porter Wagoner
  • "I Don't Care" – Webb Pierce
  • "Yonder Comes A Sucker" – Jim Reeves

1956[edit]

Cover: Elvis Presley

  • "Heartbreak Hotel" – Elvis Presley
  • "Why Baby Why" – Red Sovine & Webb Pierce
  • "I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night" – Faron Young
  • "Cash On The Barrel Head" – The Louvin Brothers
  • "I Take The Chance" – The Browns
  • "The Blackboard Of My Heart" – Hank Thompson
  • "Singing The Blues" – Marty Robbins
  • "Crazy Arms" – Ray Price
  • "I Want You I Need You I Love You" – Elvis Presley
  • "I'm A One-Woman Man" – Johnny Horton
  • "You And Me" – Red Foley & Kitty Wells
  • "I Walk the Line" – Johnny Cash
  • "Blue Suede Shoes" – Carl Perkins
  • "Any Old Time" – Webb Pierce
  • "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" – The Louvin Brothers
  • "Trouble In Mind" – Eddy Arnold
  • "I've Got A New Heartache" – Ray Price
  • "Searching" – Kitty Wells
  • "You Are The One" – Carl Smith
  • "Sweet Dreams" – Faron Young
  • "Yes I Know Why" – Webb Pierce
  • "Folsom Prison Blues" – Johnny Cash
  • "You're Running Wild" – The Louvin Brothers
  • "You Don't Know Me" – Eddy Arnold

1957[edit]

Cover: Marty Robbins

1958[edit]

Cover: Ernest Tubb

  • "Oh, Lonesome Me" – Don Gibson
  • "Tupelo County Jail" – Webb Pierce
  • "Just Married" – Marty Robbins
  • Invitation to the Blues – Ray Price
  • "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down" – Charlie Walker
  • "Don't" – Elvis Presley
  • "Guess Things Happen That Way" – Johnny Cash
  • "Treasure of Love" – George Jones
  • "All I Have to Do Is Dream" – Everly Brothers
  • "She's No Angel" – Kitty Wells
  • "I Can't Stop Loving You" – Don Gibson
  • "Squaws Along the Yukon" – Hank Thompson
  • "Cigarettes and Coffee Blues" – Lefty Frizzell
  • "Half a Mind" – Ernest Tubb
  • "Alone With You" – Faron Young
  • "Blue Boy" – Jim Reeves
  • "City Lights" – Ray Price
  • "It's Only Make Believe" – Conway Twitty
  • "My Baby's Gone" – Louvin Brothers
  • "Bird Dog" – Everly Brothers
  • "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" – Johnny Cash
  • "Blue Blue Day" – Don Gibson
  • "Life to Go" – Stonewall Jackson
  • "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On – Hank Locklin

1959[edit]

Cover: Faron Young

  • "The Battle Of New Orleans" – Johnny Horton
  • "White Lightning" – George Jones
  • "Who Cares" – Don Gibson
  • "The Three Bells" – The Browns
  • "Black Land Farmer" – Frankie Miller
  • "The Same Old Me" – Ray Price
  • "El Paso" – Marty Robbins
  • "Amigo's Guitar" – Kitty Wells
  • "I Ain't Never" – Webb Pierce
  • "Cabin On The Hill" – Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
  • "Gotta Travel On" – Billy Grammer
  • "He'll Have To Go" – Jim Reeves
  • "Who Shot Sam" – George Jones
  • "Country Girl" – Faron Young
  • "Set Him Free" – Skeeter Davis
  • "When It's Springtime In Alaska (It's Forty Below)" – Johnny Horton
  • "Under Your Spell Again" – Buck Owens
  • "Don't Take Your Guns To Town" – Johnny Cash
  • "Tennessee Stud" – Eddy Arnold
  • "Heartaches By The Number" – Ray Price
  • "Come Walk With Me" – Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper
  • "Waterloo" – Stonewall Jackson
  • "Don't Tell Me Your Troubles" – Don Gibson
  • Long Black Veil" – Lefty Frizzell

1960[edit]

Cover: Kitty Wells

  • "One More Time" – Ray Price
  • "Alabam" – Cowboy Copas
  • "No Love Have I" – Webb Pierce
  • "Left To Right" – Kitty Wells
  • "Another" – Roy Drusky
  • "Excuse Me (I Think I've Got A Heartache)" – Buck Owens
  • "A Six Pack To Go" – Hank Thompson
  • "Miller's Cave" – Hank Snow
  • "I Missed Me" – Jim Reeves
  • "Just One Time" – Don Gibson
  • "Your Old Used To Be" – Faron Young
  • "Family Bible" – Claude Gray
  • "Wishful Thinking" – Wynn Stewart
  • "North To Alaska" – Johnny Horton
  • "Honky Tonk Girl" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Fallen Angel" – Webb Pierce
  • "Big Iron" – Marty Robbins
  • "Let's Think About Living" – Bob Luman
  • "Hot Rod Lincoln" – Charlie Ryan
  • "Above And Beyond" – Buck Owens
  • "Wings Of A Dove" – Ferlin Husky
  • "Please Help Me I'm Falling" – Hank Locklin
  • "(I Can't Help You) I'm Falling Too" – Skeeter Davis
  • "Last Date" – Floyd Cramer

1961[edit]

Cover: Patsy Cline

  • "I Fall To Pieces" – Patsy Cline
  • "Heart Over Mind" – Ray Price
  • "Walk On By" – Leroy Van Dyke
  • "Don't Worry" – Marty Robbins
  • "Sleepy-Eyed John" – Johnny Horton
  • "My Last Date (With You)" – Skeeter Davis
  • "Foolin' Around" – Buck Owens
  • "The Window Up Above" – George Jones
  • "Po' Folks" – Bill Anderson
  • "Beggar To A King" – Hank Snow
  • "Heartbreak U.S.A." – Kitty Wells
  • "Sweet Dreams" – Don Gibson
  • "Hello Walls" – Faron Young
  • "Louisiana Man" – Rusty and Doug
  • "I Dreamed Of A Hill-Billy Heaven" – Tex Ritter
  • "Three Hearts In A Tangle" – Roy Drusky
  • "Oklahoma Hills" – Hank Thompson
  • "Crazy" – Patsy Cline
  • "Big Bad John" – Jimmy Dean
  • "Your Old Love Letters" – Porter Wagoner
  • "Tender Years" – George Jones
  • "Right Or Wrong" – Wanda Jackson
  • "Sea Of Heartbreak" – Don Gibson
  • "Under The Influence Of Love" – Buck Owens

1962[edit]

  • "The Ballad Of Jed Clampett" – Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs
  • "Wolverton Mountain" – Claude King
  • "She Thinks I Still Care" – George Jones
  • "Imagine That" – Patsy Cline
  • "I Can Mend Your Broken Heart" – Don Gibson
  • "I've Been Everywhere" – Hank Snow
  • "Ruby Ann" – Marty Robbins
  • "Don't Let Me Cross Over" – Carl Butler
  • "Success" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Charlie's Shoes" – Billy Walker
  • "Misery Loves Company" – Porter Wagoner
  • "Funny How Time Slips Away" – Willie Nelson
  • "Lonesome Number One" – Don Gibson
  • "Honky-Tonk Man" – Johnny Horton
  • "Mama Sang A Song" – Bill Anderson
  • "A Wound Time Can't Erase" – Stonewall Jackson
  • "She's Got You" – Patsy Cline
  • "Devil Woman" – Marty Robbins
  • "In the Jailhouse Now" – Johnny Cash
  • "The End Of The World" – Skeeter Davis
  • "Trouble's Back In Town" – The Wilburn Brothers
  • "Touch Me" – Willie Nelson
  • "If A Woman Answers (Hang Up the Phone)" – Leroy Van Dyke
  • "Adios Amigo" – Jim Reeves

1963[edit]

Cover: Buck Owens

  • "Ring Of Fire" – Johnny Cash
  • "Act Naturally" – Buck Owens
  • "Not What I Had In Mind" – George Jones
  • "Night Life" – Ray Price
  • "Leavin' On Your Mind" – Patsy Cline
  • "Begging To You" – Marty Robbins
  • "Six Days On The Road" – Dave Dudley
  • "Detroit City" – Bobby Bare
  • "Thanks A Lot" – Ernest Tubb
  • "We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds" – George Jones and Melba Montgomery
  • "From A Jack To A King" – Ned Miller
  • "Make The World Go Away" – Ray Price
  • "Love's Gonna Live Here" – Buck Owens
  • "Ninety Miles An Hour (Down A Dead End Street)" – Hank Snow
  • "Faded Love" – Patsy Cline
  • "500 Miles Away From Home" – Bobby Bare
  • "Roll Muddy River" – The Wilburn Brothers
  • "Still" – Bill Anderson
  • "Talk Back Trembling Lips" – Ernest Ashworth
  • "Before I'm Over You" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Abilene" – George Hamilton IV
  • "The Matador" – Johnny Cash
  • "Lonesome 7-7203 - Hawkshaw Hawkins
  • "Sweet Dreams (Of You) - Patsy Cline

1964[edit]

Cover: Johnny Cash

  • "The Race Is On" – George Jones
  • "Understand Your Man" – Johnny Cash
  • "Second Fiddle (To An Old Guitar)" – Jean Shepard
  • "Don't Be Angry" – Stonewall Jackson
  • "Together Again" – Buck Owens
  • "You're the Only World I Know" – Sonny James
  • "Chug-a-Lug" – Roger Miller
  • "Happy Birthday" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" – Hank Williams Jr.
  • "Sorrow On The Rocks" – Porter Wagoner
  • "The Ballad Of Ira Hayes" – Johnny Cash
  • "Four Strong Winds" – Bobby Bare
  • "My Heart Skips A Beat" – Buck Owens
  • "Saginaw Michigan" – Lefty Frizzell
  • "I Guess I'm Crazy" – Jim Reeves
  • "Cross The Brazos At Waco" – Billy Walker
  • "Your Heart Turned Left (And I Was On The Right)" – George Jones
  • "Burning Memories" – Ray Price
  • "It Ain't Me Babe" – Johnny Cash
  • "I Don't Care (Just As Long As You Love Me)" – Buck Owens
  • "Dang Me" – Roger Miller
  • "Once A Day" – Connie Smith
  • "Widow Maker" – Jimmy Martin
  • "Welcome To My World" - Jim Reeves

1965[edit]

Cover: Porter Wagoner

1966[edit]

Cover: Loretta Lynn

  • "Open Up Your Heart" – Buck Owens
  • "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Swinging Doors" – Merle Haggard
  • "Almost Persuaded" – David Houston
  • "Take Good Care Of Her" – Sonny James
  • "(That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me (Gordon Lightfoot)" – Waylon Jennings
  • "I Get The Fever" – Bill Anderson
  • "The Streets Of Baltimore" – Bobby Bare
  • "Would You Hold It Against Me" – Dottie West
  • "You Ain't Woman Enough" – Loretta Lynn
  • "There Goes My Everything" – Jack Greene
  • "Distant Drums" – Jim Reeves
  • "The Bottle Let Me Down" – Merle Haggard
  • "Waitin' In Your Welfare Line" – Buck Owens
  • "The Hurtin's All Over" – Connie Smith
  • "Room In Your Heart" – Sonny James
  • "The One On The Right Is On The Left" – Johnny Cash
  • "England Swings" – Roger Miller
  • "Queen Of The House" – Jody Miller)
  • "Four-O-Thirty Three" – George Jones
  • "Blue Side Of Lonesome" – Jim Reeves
  • "Think Of Me" – Buck Owens
  • "The Last Word In Lonesome Is Me" – Eddy Arnold
  • "Standing In The Shadows" – Hank Williams Jr.

1967[edit]

Cover: Tammy Wynette

  • "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" – Tammy Wynette
  • "The Cold Hard Facts Of Life" – Porter Wagoner
  • "Branded Man" – Merle Haggard
  • "If You're Not Gone Too Long" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Walk Through This World With Me" – George Jones
  • "Jackson" – Johnny Cash and June Carter
  • "Tonight Carmen" – Marty Robbins
  • "It's Such a Pretty World Today" – Wynn Stewart
  • "It's the Little Things" – Sonny James
  • "Where Does The Good Times Go" – Buck Owens
  • "My Elusive Dreams" – David Houston and Tammy Wynette
  • "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" – Glen Campbell
  • "Long-Legged Guitar Pickin' Man" – Johnny Cash and June Carter
  • "The Fugitive" – Merle Haggard
  • "I Can't Get There From Here" – George Jones
  • "Phantom 309" – Red Sovine
  • "Break My Mind" – George Hamilton IV
  • "The Party's Over" – Willie Nelson
  • "Sam's Place" — Buck Owens
  • "Rosanna's Going Wild" – Johnny Cash
  • "Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger" – Charley Pride
  • "I Don't Wanna Play House" – Tammy Wynette
  • "Sing Me Back Home" – Merle Haggard
  • "Ode to Billie Joe" – Bobbie Gentry

1968[edit]

Cover: Dolly Parton

  • "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line" – Waylon Jennings
  • "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)" – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • "The Image Of Me" – Conway Twitty
  • "When The Grass Grows Over Me" – George Jones
  • "Rocky Top" – The Osborne Brothers
  • "Stand By Your Man" – Tammy Wynette
  • "Mama Tried" – Merle Haggard
  • "How Long Will My Baby Be Gone" – Buck Owens and the Buckaroos
  • "The Last Thing on My Mind" – Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton
  • "The Day The World Stood Still" – Charley Pride
  • "Harper Valley PTA" – Jeannie C. Riley
  • "Wichita Lineman" – Glen Campbell
  • "Folsom Prison Blues" – Johnny Cash
  • "Fist City" – Loretta Lynn
  • "She Still Comes Around (To Love What's Left Of Me)" – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • "The Carroll County Accident" – Porter Wagoner
  • "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" – Tammy Wynette
  • "I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am" – Merle Haggard
  • "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" – Flatt & Scruggs
  • "Looking At The World Through A Windshield" – Del Reeves
  • "Holding On To Nothin'" – Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton
  • "Next In Line" – Conway Twitty
  • "Another Place, Another Time" – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • "Skip A Rope" – Henson Cargill

1969[edit]

Cover: Merle Haggard

  • "Workin' Man's Blues" – Merle Haggard
  • "All I Have to Offer You Is Me" – Charley Pride
  • "Bloody Mary Morning" – Willie Nelson
  • "My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy" – Dolly Parton
  • "One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart)" – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • "Statue Of A Fool" – Jack Greene
  • "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love To Town)" – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
  • "Homecoming" – Tom T. Hall
  • "The Ways To Love A Man" – Tammy Wynette
  • "I'll Share My World With You" – George Jones
  • "Okie From Muskogee" – Merle Haggard
  • "A Boy Named Sue" – Johnny Cash
  • "Galveston" – Glen Campbell
  • "Woman Of The World (Leave My World Alone)" – Loretta Lynn
  • "She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye" – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • "Darling You Know I Wouldn't Lie" — Conway Twitty
  • "Just Someone I Used To Know" – Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton
  • "(Margie's At) The Lincoln Park Inn" – Bobby Bare
  • "Daddy Sang Bass" – Johnny Cash
  • "Ballad Of Forty Dollars" – Tom T. Hall
  • "Hungry Eyes" – Merle Haggard
  • "Singing My Song" – Tammy Wynette
  • "Since I Met You Baby" – Sonny James
  • "Suspicious Minds" – Elvis Presley

1970[edit]

Cover: Loretta Lynn

  • "Coal Miner's Daughter" – Loretta Lynn
  • "There Must Be More To Love Than This" – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • "Fifteen Years Ago" – Conway Twitty
  • "The Fightin' Side of Me" – Merle Haggard
  • "If I Were A Carpenter" – Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
  • "For The Good Times" – Ray Price
  • "The Taker" – Waylon Jennings
  • "He Loves Me All The Way" – Tammy Wynette
  • "Wonder Could I Live There Anymore" – Charley Pride
  • "How I Got To Memphis" – Bobby Bare
  • "Rose Garden" – Lynn Anderson
  • "My Woman My Woman My Wife" – Marty Robbins
  • "Mule Skinner Blues" – Dolly Parton
  • "A Good Year For The Roses" – George Jones
  • "Once More With Feeling" – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • "I Know How" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Hello Darlin'" – Conway Twitty
  • "A Week In A Country Jail" – Tom T Hall
  • "Snowbird" – Anne Murray
  • "Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone" – Charley Pride
  • "Endlessly" – Sonny James
  • "Run Woman Run" – Tammy Wynette
  • "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" – Waylon Jennings
  • "Sunday Morning Coming Down" – Johnny Cash

1971[edit]

Cover: Johnny Cash

  • "Man In Black" – Johnny Cash
  • "Joshua" – Dolly Parton
  • "Lead Me On" – Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
  • "I'm Just Me" – Charley Pride
  • "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died" – Tom T Hall
  • "How Much More Can She Stand" – Conway Twitty
  • "You're Lookin' At Country" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Bright Lights Big City" – Sonny James
  • "I'm a Truck" – Red Simpson
  • "Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)" – Merle Haggard
  • "Good Lovin' (Makes It Right)" – Tammy Wynette
  • "I Won't Mention It Again" – Ray Price
  • "When You're Hot You're Hot" – Jerry Reed
  • "After The Fire Is Gone" – Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
  • "Would You Take Another Chance On Me" – Jerry Lee Lewis
  • "Coat Of Many Colors" – Dolly Parton
  • "She's All I Got" – Johnny Paycheck
  • "Help Me Make It Through The Night – Sammi Smith
  • "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" – Charley Pride
  • "Carolyn" – Merle Haggard
  • "Easy Loving" – Freddie Hart
  • "I Wanna Be Free" – Loretta Lynn
  • "Empty Arms" – Sonny James
  • "Me And Paul" – Willie Nelson

1972[edit]

Cover: Conway Twitty

External links[edit]