Germany’s Bear Family Records continues its incomparably exhaustive work with the upcoming release of a 20-CD set honoring Lefty Frizzell, one of the most influential country musicians of all time. Featuring re-mastered versions of every 45, 78, and LP track from Frizzell’s career, along with several previously unissued session recordings, the aptly titled An Article from Life: The Complete Recordings, features a staggering 361 tracks and includes a new 264-page hardcover biography.
In October 1950, Texas-born William Orville Frizzell (nicknamed “Lefty” after a schoolyard fight) debuted on the country chart with a double-sided hit, “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time” and “I Love You a Thousand Ways.” By Christmas of that year, the record was Number One, spending three weeks atop the chart and heralding the arrival of one of the greatest honky-tonk performers of the golden era of country music. Influencing artists from Merle Haggard and Keith Whitley to Iris DeMent and beyond, Frizzell would notch a combined 23 weeks at the top with his 1951 singles, “I Want to Be With You Always” and “Always Late (With Your Kisses).”
Shortly before he died in 1975 at 47 years old from stroke-related complications, Frizzell had charted with a Merle Haggard tune, “Life’s Like Poetry,” which became the title of a 12-CD 1992 Bear Family boxed set. His second collection by the label, Life’s Like Poetry followed the 1984 14-album compilation, His Life, His Music. In 1972, Frizzell was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and a decade later would be enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Artists including George Jones, Willie Nelson, George Strait, Daryle Singletary and Brennen Leigh, among many others, have paid homage to Frizzell in song. Roy Orbison named his Traveling Wilburys alter-ego Lefty Wilbury after the country legend.
As a special bonus, the upcoming box set features an audiobook of the Country Music Hall of Fame legend’s life history. Written and read by his brother, fellow country music artist David Frizzell, I Love You a Thousand Ways: The Lefty Frizzell Story, comprises eight CDs. An updated discography accompanies the boxed set, which features a total 71 demos and private recordings, some dating back to the Forties. Also included are rare radio recordings Frizzell did for the Navy and Air Force on Country Music Time and for the U.S. Army-produced Country Style USA.
An Article from Life: The Complete Recordings will be released October 19th and the full track listing is featured on the Bear Family website.