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Various Artists: Hillbillies in Hell: Country Music's Tormented Testament

Track List

>Needle, The - Harry Snyder
>LSD - Wendell Austin
>Marijuana, the Devil Flower - Johnny Price
>California Hippie Murders! - Red River Dave
>Satan's Chauffeur - Jimmy Minor
>Dark Angel - Benny Joy (previously unreleased)
>Devil, My Conscience and I, The - Billy Barton
>My Evil Mind - Jack Cook
>Jesus Is My Pusher - Margie Singleton
>Don't Shake Hands With the Devil - Cowboy Copas
>Suicide - Louis Innis
>Fourteen Stories Down - Don Bailey
>Demon of Jealousy - Jesse Bruce
>God's Gonna Turn Us to Dust - Johnny Tyler
>Devil's Twist, The - The Up-Town Four/Art Killmer
>Slave, The - Buck Ritchey
>I'm Tired of You Satan - Wayne, Pat & Keith
>We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus (And a Lot Less Rock and Roll) - Sunshine Boys
>Three A.M. - Bill Anderson
>Devil Was Laughing at Me, The - Jimmy Newman
>I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself - Buddy Knox
>Pyscho - Eddie Noack
>It's Nothin' to Me - Buddy Long
>Visit From the Devil, A - Jack Leonard
>Race With the Devil - Johnny David
>Hell Train - Billy Strange
>Lonely Street to Hell - Johnny `Pee Wee' Blaine
>I Just Got Off the Devil's Train - David Beatty/The Harmonettes

Album Notes

Recording information: Circa (1958).

Light in the Attic's 2016 compilation Hillbillies in Hell: Country Music's Tortured Testament (1952-1974) digs deep into odd, forgotten recesses of country music, discovering independently pressed laments about dope and the devil. Two of the names will be familiar to country fans -- Margie Singleton, with her inspirational anthem "Jesus Is My Pusher," and Cowboy Copas, who warns "Don't Shake Hands with the Devil" -- but most of the featured 18 tracks echo other better-known country singers, usually Johnny Cash. What matters is neither the singer nor the quality of the song, but rather the subject and the feel. Everything here is just slightly askew, sounding like a 45 stashed away on a dusty jukebox in a forgotten roadhouse but the lyrics push this into an odd, uneasy dimension. This dissonance is what's compelling, of course: it's either laughable or haunting -- signs of the deep, strange undercurrents running throughout American culture in a time of upheaval. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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