Marty Stuart Picks....10 Albums You Must Have In Your Collection

This appeared in Country Weekly - April 30, 1996

MCA recording artist Marty Stuart, a Grand Ole Opry regular, is well-known in Nashville as one of country music's biggest supporters and historians. From age 13, when he went on the road playing with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt, Marty began adding musical styles while his luggage added stickers. His blend of bluegrass, rockabilly, West Coast sounds, Texas swing and virtually all other types of country--along with his sense of history--made him the perfect choice to answer one question:

What 10 albums should every country fan own?

He suggested the list should be more like 100, but we pinned him down to just 10.

Merle Haggard - Songs I'll Always Sing

If you listen to the radio and watch country videos, there's a hundred Merle Haggard clones. If you want to go to the source and find out why every country singer wants to sound like him, you ought to listen to Merle himself. Alongside Hank Williams, he's truly one of the greatest poets we've ever had.

Buck Owens - Best of Buck Owens

Nashville had its sound, but there was something about the West Coast sound that always attracted me, and Buck was an innovator of that style. It rocked, it was edgy, it had Nudie suits, Fender Telecasters, cool cowboy boots and it twanged real hard. These are classic honky tonk sounds.

Hank Williams - Alone and Forsaken

Hank Williams is the only artist, in retrospect, who never recorded a bad song. Every single song in his catalog has merit. A number of these are demos, just Hank and his guitar. There's something about the songs, stripped down to just him and a guitar, that exposes the soul of the man.

Dwight Yoakam - Hillbilly Deluxe

Dwight is one of my favorite artists of the past 15 years. He's fiercely original, unafraid to stretch the boundaries and he has a high cool factor wrapped in integrity. Although he's recorded several fine albums, this is my favorite.

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison and San Quentin (two-album repackage)

The Folsom Prison record is the reason I play country music. Any time I've ever felt like country music was wearing a little thin and getting too bubblegum, I play these albums back-to-back to remember there is a wicked side to country music. And that is exactly where I belong.

Patsy Cline - 12 Greatest Hits

Patsy Cline is timeless and a world-class singer. Her recordings are one of country music's greatest calling cards. This album is a must for any musical citizen.

Randy Travis - Storms of Life

He's one of the guys that helped put country back in country music after the Urban Cowboy scare. This album reminded us that it's still okay to sing pure country music in Nashville.

George Jones - The Essential George Jones: The Spirit of Country

If you're thinking about being a country singer, the thing to do is buy this and be like the rest of us and start trying. There's no single source for all his hits--he's had over 150--but you'll find 44 reasons here why he's perhaps the greatest hard-country singer who ever lived.

Ricky Skaggs - Don't Cheat in Our Hometown

In a sea of tight britches and cowboy hats, Ricky has been kind of overlooked. This album reminds me that he is one of the greatest country music artists of all time. It's a perfect fusion of mountain music, honky tonk and pure country all rolled into one.

Bill Monroe - The Essential Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys

If you want a glimpse of where the roots of rock 'n' roll, blues, country, bluegrass and gospel live, this is the record to get.

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