My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Week ending 9/1/12: #1 albums this week in country music history

1967: Wynn Stewart – It’s Such A Pretty World Today (Capitol)

1972: Donna Fargo – Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A. (Dot)

1977: Waylon Jennings – Ol’ Waylon (RCA)

1982: Willie Nelson – Always On My Mind (Columbia)

1987: Hank Williams Jr. – Born To Boogie (Warner Brothers)

1992: Billy Ray Cyrus – Some Gave All (Mercury)

1997: Tim McGraw – Everywhere (Curb)

2002: Toby Keith- Unleashed (Dreamworks)

2007: Taylor Swift – Taylor Swift (Big Machine)

2012: Zac Brown Band – Uncaged (Atlantic)

14 responses to “Week ending 9/1/12: #1 albums this week in country music history

  1. luckyoldsun September 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Wow!
    How the hell did Wynn Stewart manage to score a No.1 album based on one hit single?

    • Paul W Dennis September 2, 2012 at 11:12 am

      The album actually had a second top ten single in “Cause I Have You” and another song that charted just before the title song. A lot of people, especially on the west coast, knew of Wynn Stewart since he had a lot of regionally popular hits in the decade prior to this album. He was really good singer and songwriter – he gave Haggard his first chart hit

  2. Ken Johnson September 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    “It’s Such A Pretty World Today” was a game changing hit single for Wynn Stewart. Though the song remained at #1 for only two weeks it stayed on the country chart for more than 5 months. It was one of the most requested hits of the year at country radio ranking third on the list of Billboard Magazine’s top ten country singles for that year. The song was performed by Wynn and many other artists on musical variety shows & syndicated country music TV shows of that era. I recall hearing Wynn’s record on countless jukeboxes during most of 1967.A version of the song recorded by Andy Russell also released on Capitol became a #1 hit on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart during the first week of August 1967.

    Wynn’s Capitol album received the full benefit of the title song’s huge popularity. Sales also expanded thanks to the availability of the album on 8-track tape which was becoming a mainstay in the dashboards of many cars as well as eighteen wheel trucks. Thanks to their top-selling country act Buck Owens, Capitol Records had developed an excellent distribution system for their country music releases allowing Wynn’s album to have wide availability and country fans bought it up.

    Through the years many other country albums have become #1 best sellers thanks to just one hit song. Jack Greene’s “There Goes My Everything,” & “All The Time,” Eddy Arnold’s “Lonely Again,” & “Turn The World Around,” Loretta Lynn’s “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin” and Sonny James’ “Need You” are just a few examples of #1 albums from 1967 that contained only one hit single.

    It’s a shame that Wynn’s excellent album is currently not available on a single CD. However all of the songs are included in the excellent multi-disc Wynn Stewart Bear Family box set.

    • luckyoldsun September 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      The Bear Family box set is clearly “overkill,” but I did pick up two Wynn Stewart compilation discs several years ago–“California Country–Best of the Challenge Masters,” on AVI Reissues, with 29 cuts; and a “Best of” from Varese Sarabende with 18 cuts–and both were very good.

    • Paul W Dennis September 3, 2012 at 12:58 am

      It should be noted that during the 1960s and 1970s the normal pattern was for the leading country artists to release two, three or even four albums per year of new material so many albums featured only one single and very few featured more than two singles

      I have the Wynn Stewart Bear boxed set. Yes, it is overkill, but for an artist as good as Stewart, only barely so

      • luckyoldsun September 3, 2012 at 7:18 am

        Who buys those Bear Family box sets?

        I bought and have the Bear Webb Pierce box–which amazingly is “only” 4 CD’s–and I also bought and have the Bear Frankie Laine box of his earliest recordings, because I was a big admirer of that particular artist.
        I’ve bought a wholel bunch of Bear single disc offerings.

        But a lot of these Bear boxe are 6, 8, 10, or more CD’s–each more than an hour long– on artists who are obscure enough to be virtually out-of-print, otherwise–and they cost in the neighborhood of $200. I suspect they measure their sales in the dozens instead of the thousands.

        • Razor X September 3, 2012 at 7:30 am

          I have three Bear Family sets of George Jones and two of Connive Smith. I’m very glad that Bear Family puts these sets together because otherwise most of this music would remain unavailable.

  3. Ken Johnson September 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Regarding the the Bear Family box sets:

    1) Bear Family sets are assembled for a specific type of consumer NOT casual fans. They are targeted to the core fans of a particular artist. Those who purchase them wish to own the complete discography or a large portion of an artists recorded catalog. As Razor X stated the sets usually include unreleased material that is unavailable elsewhere. Due to their size and scope they do not appeal to everyone. This material would remain in the vault forever if not for Richard Weize & his Bear Family staff.

    2) The Bear Family sets are never “overkill.” If you are not a fan of that artist you are not forced to purchase it. What one person may view as “overkill” is a goldmine or the holy grail to another. Like Paul I am a huge fan of Wynn Stewart. However I care little for Frankie Laine. Therefore I do not view a box set of Laine’s music as “overkill” as I am intelligent enough to realize that there are folks who would purchase that set and savor each track.

    3) Despite their price the Bear Family sets provide great value due to the generous number of tracks on each CD. Though the sets may be considered pricey by some folks, the consumer receives a great value that includes well written books and session details in addition to music that is usually unavailable elsewhere. Also Bear Family finds the best quality source tapes available and in stereo whenever possible. To purchase decent quality used copies of the rare singles & albums that comprise one boxset often would cost far more than the boxset. (If you could even locate all of that material on vinyl today)

    4) Bear Family box sets are marketed worldwide and sell in the thousands. The company would have gone bankrupt long ago if they only sold “dozens” of each set. They are not a non-profit entity. The internet has been a huge help to their business as they do not have to rely on retail outlets and can sell directly to consumers. However many dealers worldwide do carry and market Bear Family product including on eBay.

    • Paul W Dennis September 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent on Bear sets over the years, both new and used. I will say that I’ve completed my Ernest Tubb and Hank Snow collections through Bear’s wonderful collections. Now if they would just issue complete sets of Carl Smith and Webb Pierce in the 1960s and 1970s.

      I I have most of Frankie Laine’s output on Mercury but would love to own the Bear collection. If I could just get that moneytree I planted out back to start flowering …. (sigh)

      • Ken Johnson September 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm

        Yeah they can definitely put a dent in the budget. Like you I’ve found a couple of used sets online at very reasonable prices that I probably wouldn’t have purchased otherwise. Sadly the recession has forced some collectors to sell off some of their treasures.

        I second your suggestion for a 2nd Webb Pierce & Carl Smith box set. My wish list also includes a 2nd Kitty Wells set, more Johnny Cash sets (the rest of his Columbia output would cover at least 3 more sets), Warner Mack’s Decca catalog, Johnny Paycheck’s pre-Epic recordings, another Eddy Arnold set and Conway Twitty’s 1960’s Decca recordings. Lynn Anderson’s Chart catalog would also be great.

  4. J.R. Journey September 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Unfortunately, too many record labels follow Lucky’s way of thinking. If they can’t move product at big box store numbers, they’re just not interested in putting it out. That means so much definitive and essential music sits in the proverbial vaults – unless of course you buy it on outdated formats. I never understood why those guys don’t make all this catalog music available digitally and on CD. I mean, it couldn’t cost pennies these days to produce and they already own these intellectual properties. With the exception of some – Sony Legacy comes to mind and MCA (who has kept up with their pop/rock catalog a lot more than country) – most labels seem to only keep up to date format releases on artists who have achieved some sort of pop culture status, which of course translates to lucrative in today’s market. It’s a damn shame. And an embarrassing loss of potential revenue, if you ask me.

    • Ken Johnson September 4, 2012 at 10:34 am

      It’s really not that they don’t see any profit potential from catalog material. It’s that most of the decision makers at these conglomerates are younger people from a rock/pop/rap culture. They have no idea who many of the older acts are and really don’t care. As far as country music, you might as well be speaking a foreign language! The pressure is on from “corporate” to produce substantial revenue so their entire focus is on current and recent product with potential to sell millions. The stuff at the margins is insignificant to them. They have also been hit with the severe cutbacks like every other industry and have fewer people on staff to develop and repackage their catalog product. Unfortunately at the same time the conglomerate labels make it difficult for independent labels to license their material by demanding high upfront payments for thousands of units on product that would likely sell in the hundreds. They won’t release vault material and they make it difficult or impossible for anyone else to do so. It’s an odd business model. Costs are more moderate overseas which is why you see more foreign reissues.

      By the way the big box stores are of little consequence anymore due to the fact that most have severely reduced or eliminated CD’s. Downloads are taking over and we probably have less than a decade of physical media being widely available. A few boutique labels will continue but the major labels are already phasing it out.

      Also a good sized portion of the MCA/Decca and associated labels archives burned up in the Universal Studio fire a few years ago. Thousands of master tapes were destoyed including a lot of country product. Some of that material now exists only on vinyl so we may never see reissues on some of those vintage titles from tape sources. Officially Universal Music Group has said little about this tragedy.

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