HILLBILLIES IN HELL-COUNTRY MUSIC’S TORMENTED TESTAMENT (1952-1974) VOLUME X.

Hillbillies In Hell-Country Music’s Tormented Testament (1952-1974) Volume X.

Label: Iron Mountain Analogue Research.

Release Date: “8th’ June 2020.

One genre that divides the opinion of critics and music lovers is country music. It’s been referred to as Marmite music, you either like it or loathe it. There’s plenty of people love country music and have enjoyed Iron Mountain Analogue Research’s Hillbillies In Hell compilation series. The latest instalment in this long-running and successful series is Hillbillies In Hell-Country Music’s Tormented Testament (1952-1974) Volume X, which will be released on the “8th’ June 2020. 

Nowadays, very few compilations series’ are still going strong after ten volumes. That is a remarkable achievement and testament to the label and compiler. 

Especially since most compilations are one offs. They’re lovingly curated and take years to compile. Some return for a second instalment, and the lucky ones for a third. After that, the compiler and label are reliant on constantly finding new or suitable material. It can be even harder with  compilations that focus on a specific genre of music or have a theme. The compilers of the Hillbillies In Hell compilation series have never let the quality drop during the previous nine instalments. Will that be the case with Hillbillies In Hell-Country Music’s Tormented Testament (1952-1974) Volume X?

Side One.

Opening side one is The Phipps Family and Brother Tye’s God Is Getting Worried With Your Wicked Ways which was released by Phillips in 1966. It features a lived-in, world-weary, God fearing vocal from a group who were obviously influenced by the Carter Family.

John Reedy and His Stone Mountain Trio were from Dayton, Ohio and they combine bluegrass and gospel on Oh Death. It was released on their own label John Reedy Records in 1960. This version of the song is regarded by connoisseurs of country music as the best by far.

During their long, successful and prolific career the Georgia bluegrass gospel group The Lewis Family released over fifty albums. In 1966 The Lewis Family (and Carl Story) released the righteous sounding Fire and Brimstone which is a captivating cut.

Richard Miller was a remarkable singer, songwriter and musician who was blessed with a wonderful voice and throughout his life had to overcome adversity. He was born without arms or legs yet learned to play the guitar, drive a car, went to university and graduated with an MBA and then became a minister. He also wrote a book about is life and was a gospel singer and in 1964 released Jesus Is On My Side on his label Miller Records. It’s beautiful song with an impassioned delivery of the lyrics. Sadly, after retiring to Mexico, Richard Miller was murdered on the ‘4th’ of November 2018. However, Jesus Is On My Side is a reminder of a remarkable and inspirational man.

Closing side one is Jesus Is Coming Soon by The Sheltons. They were at the peak of their considerable powers between 1962 and 1972. In the middle of this period they released Jesus Is Coming Soon on Halo Records in 1967, which features an angelic vocal and is one of the most melodic and memorable songs on the compilation.

Side Two.

The AL Phipps Family covered Death’s Black Train, which was released on Starday Records in 1962. This cover version is part song, part sermon and is very different to the original.

There’s a gospel influence to Heaven Bound Train which was released by The Lewis Family (with Carl Story) in 1966. It’s another sermon that has been turned into a song and romps along as The Lewis Family (with Carl Story) try to convince the listener that climbing on that train is something to look forward to. It might be better to book a cab that day.

Little Jimmy Dickens poses an interesting question on Are You Insured Beyond The Grave? That sounds like one for your financial adviser. Released in 1955 on Columbia Records, this was one of four singles that this talented and versatile singer released that year. It’s also one of the best and a welcome addition to the compilation.

Ernest Carter and The Hymn Trio are out to save souls on Filthy Sea Of Sin. It was written by Ernest Carter and released on Ark Records in 1962. 

Joel Hemphill and Labreeska Hemphill’s Satan Has No Claim On Me was released by Canaan Records in 1968. It’s an upbeat and energetic song that romps along claiming that Satan is powerless in the face of prayer. 

Closing Hillbillies In Hell-Country Music’s Tormented Testament (1952-1974) Volume X is Brother Claude Ely’s There Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down. This gospel classic was recorded in 1953 and released on King Records in 1954. It ensures the compilation ends on a high.

Hillbillies In Hell-Country Music’s Tormented Testament (1952-1974) Volume X is yet another welcome addition to this lovingly curated compilation series that began five years ago in 2015. Since then, each volume has been of the highest quality. That is testament to the compiler who digs deep looking for quality cuts for future instalment in the series. 

Everyone at the Iron Mountain Analogue Research label play their part in the Hillbillies In Hell compilation series. They’ve never let the listener down and consistently release compilations that are a cut above the competition. 

That is the case with Hillbillies In Hell-Country Music’s Tormented Testament (1952-1974) Volume X which feature familiar faces and new names. They all play their party in the success of this captivating collection of songs that is of  the highest quality and are proof that this is compilation series that is going to run and run. Hillbillies In Hell-Country Music’s Tormented Testament (1952-1974) Volume X is proof of that.

Hillbillies In Hell-Country Music’s Tormented Testament (1952-1974) Volume X.

2 Comments

  1. Are You Insured Beyond The Grave love the title and your comment.

    • It’s a great title for a song and there’s some wonderful music on the compilation. It’s well worth picking up a copy of the compilation although copies usually sell out quickly. I’ve never been disappointed by their compilations and have reviewed a number of them over the years.

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