Lists of the best albums celebrating 50th anniversaries all but inevitably focus on rock albums. Country music is almost always omitted from such backward glances — unless, that is, an act has been identified as “country rock” or at least has some obvious rock & roll connection. And even then (Hello, Johnny Cash!), the acknowledgment typically comes only sparingly. This negligence isn’t mostly because of any rigid genre segregation, either. Rather, it’s simply because many if not most of country music’s best albums weren’t recognized, let alone lionized, to begin with. Instead, then as now — and this tends to go double for women artists — country albums were dismissed out of hand as surely nothing more than being “hits plus filler” or “old-fashioned,” “hackneyed” or “conservative,” or any number of other hackneyed themselves country-music-aimed bigotries.
Just as with last year’s piece devoted to 1968’s best country albums, this 1969 edition hopes to reclaim at least a few of these overlooked country music gems.