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10 Country Albums Rolling Stone Loved in the 1970s You Never Heard

We praised them 40 years ago — and you should listen to them today!

Linda Ronstadt and Lee Clayton

Linda Ronstadt and Lee Clayton

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty; GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty

Rolling Stone didn't comprehensively cover Nashville in the Seventies, but the magazine loved country music enough to not just keep up-to-date on crossover hits but to alert readers to unknown favorites in the world of country, bluegrass, and country-rock. These 10 LPs basically remained undiscovered by everyone except hardcore fans — although some of their creators, such as Linda Ronstadt and Percy Sledge, would have fame at other stages of their careers.

kay moffatt

Katy Moffatt, ‘Katy Moffatt’

The Texan Katy Moffatt, the younger sister of singer-songwriter Hugh Moffatt, broke into the music business via a gig with a Denver radio station, and on this debut record, proved to have a classic country voice, reminiscent of Patsy Cline or Tammy Wynette. When this disc wasn't a hit, she became a backup singer for many years before going solo again — in 1985, she was nominated as Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.

What We Said Then: "Country music's left field seems to be growing larger and larger. Katy Moffatt has a big, powerful voice over which she exerts remarkable control. . .Hers is a voice with a natural country twang, but when the line calls for it she can sing just as smooth as you please; and when she reaches up for a high note, she grabs it and holds on." — John Morthland, RS 222 (September 23rd, 1976)

redwing

Redwing, ‘Redwing’

Sacramento, California, wasn't a hotbed of country music: it was over 200 miles distant from Bakersfield and over 2,000 miles away from Nashville. Nevertheless, it was home to Redwing, a country-rock band that evolved out of Glad after Timothy B. Schmit left to join Poco. This debut included 10 originals plus covers of country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers and Nashville "hippie-cowboy" Mickey Newbury. After this debut, Redwing recorded four more albums between 1972 and 1975, never breaking through.

What We Said Then: "[The] finest hard rock/country band in the business today, the finest since Moby Grape first commandeered the Fillmore stage back in '67. . .Licks that won't quit. Long lazy ones. Short hard ones. All perfect in both taste and execution, and vocals that will wrench out all the tightness in your throat after too much of shock rock. . .Redwing. . .seems to both understand and contain the mellowness of the country living with the overriding sound of the hard urbanity that now intrudes upon the farmer and his fields." — J. R. Young, RS 85 (June 24th, 1971)

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