Country has always drawn from African-American music, but as part two of this Southern-fried funk compilation series shows, that cross-genre impulse got wildly amplified in the Sixties and Seventies. Dolly Parton sings “Gettin’ Happy” with a gospel choir, pedal steel and an amped-up, sample-ready drum beat; Kenny Rogers gets all funky outlaw on “Tulsa Turnaround” (“Oooh, Lord, I wish I had never been stoned. . . .”). Even Willie Nelson (“Shotgun Willie”) gets his greased groove on, alongside Townes Van Zandt (“Hunger Child Blues”) and Jim Ford (“Rising Sign”). With acts like Florida Georgia Line re-integrating today’s country, it’s a timely flashback.
From The Archives Issue 1214: July 31, 2014