10 Classic Country Albums Turning 40 in 2019 - Rolling Stone
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10 Classic Country Albums Turning 40 in 2019

From Dolly Parton’s ‘Great Balls of Fire’ to Merle Haggard’s ‘Serving 190 Proof,’ the best country albums of 1979

Classic Country Albums Turning 40, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard

Dolly Parton's 'Great Balls of Fire' and Merle Haggard's 'Serving 190 Proof' are two classic country albums turning 40 in 2019.

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1979 was a transitional year for country music. The Outlaw sound that had taken the genre both back to its roots and on to the pop charts was clearly in decline, but the next-big-thing, Urban Cowboy, had yet to take hold. Caught in between, people were trying all sorts of unexpected sounds and approaches. On her second album, future star Janie Fricke included a lounge version of “Got My Mojo Working.” Larry Gatlin released what amounted to a Southern gospel concept album, while George Jones duetted with everyone from Elvis Costello to Dr. Hook to Mavis and Pops Staples. There were plenty of disco beats, too, as well as trad-country standards, plus covers of old-time rock & roll and of what would now be called “classic rock,” even a bit of calypso. It was a strange, weird year, in other words. But like any year, 1979 was not without it share of country keepers. Here are 10 of the best.

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