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Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, December 21, 2007, Music

Opry Video Classics

(Time Life)

This superb 8-DVD collection gathers 120 video performances from the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts of the 1950s through 1970s, most of which were captured on the stage of the Mother Church – the Ryman Auditorium – and have never before been commercially available. All the legends are accounted for, including Patsy Cline, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Ray Price, Tammy Wynette, Tom T. Hall, Waylon Jennings, and too many more to mention, sometimes at their peak, others when they were just getting started. Each disc is organized by theme, such as Queens of Country, Duets, and Honky-Tonk Heroes, which seems a little arbitrary at times, but that's only a minor quibble when one considers the depth of the series as a whole. Every installment features an introduction by Marty Stuart, as well as personal reflections from Grand Ole Opry veterans like Jim Ed Brown and Porter Wagoner served up as extras. Everyone will have their own favorites, but Pioneers, with Roy Acuff, the Carter Family, and the Louvin Brothers, and Legends, featuring Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Faron Young, Ernest Tubb, and Conway Twitty, surely stand out. While the sound quality is excellent, some of the black-and-white video shows its age, though the color clips allow Nudie suits to be fully appreciated. This set is like a video hall of fame, likely to thrill any lover of country music's heyday.


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