Portrait Of An American Singer

Portrait Of An American Singer

(5-CD + 124 page book) Inarguably a major recording act, Tennessee Ernie Ford (1919-1991) sold an estimated 90 million albums worldwide, and charted 17 Top Ten country singles and four Top Ten pop singles over a 35-year recording career. And he played significant – and pioneering – roles in radio and television broadcasting. All the secular-themed studio recordings from the first dozen years in the career of one of the most important crossover acts in the history of American popular music. Five CDs containing 154 tracks and a 120-page book with newly written essays, track-by-track album notes, a discography, label scans, and many rare photographs and illustrations. Early country hits including the chart-topping Mule Train (1949) and Ford’s pioneering ‘hillbilly boogie’ smash The Shotgun Boogie (1950), as well as Ford’s first major crossover hit, the 1950 duet (with Kay Starr) I’ll Never Be Free. It also includes classics such as Rock City Boogie (with the Dinning Sisters, 1951) and Blackberry Boogie (1952) as well as overlooked delights as the train song Tennessee Local (1952), his 1952 interpretation of Willie Mabon’s rhythm and blues hit I Don’t Know. This boxed set includes two never-before-released songs (Slow Down and Small World), numerous Ford singles and album tracks not previously reissued on CD, and several rarities, including Ford’s 1955 recitations of Davy Crockett tales, as well as Ford’s 1958 public service jingles to promote the U. S. Marine Corps ‘Toys for Tots’ charitable program.

List Price: $ 163.97

Price: $ 115.39

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2 Responses to Portrait Of An American Singer

  • Dr. Joseph Lee says:
    13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Tennessee Ernie Ford Portrait of An American Singer (Bear Family box set): 5CDs; 154 songs; all the singles; albums; great sound, August 5, 2015
    Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: Portrait Of An American Singer (Audio CD)

    This wonderful 5-CD (not 6 CD as noted on the Amazon.com website) box set “Portrait of An American Singer” by Tennessee Ernie Ford, released by world renowned Bear Family Records from Germany in 2015, contains 154 songs. I have tremendous mixed feelings about this box set (mostly joy). So let me explain:


    01 This box set includes all the songs from 1949-1960. The songs in the five CDs were listed chronologically according to the dates of the recording sessions. In this case, all the singles (a and b-sides, charted and uncharted) are included. Of course the album tracks are also scattered among the singles tracks. Fortunately, Bear Family gives us the best discography listing in the coffee table size book that comes with the box set. All the labels and numbers are included.
    02 The sound is wonderfully remastered, as per usual high standards at Bear Family. Tennessee’s deep strong voice was in full display. All the backing instruments are clearly defined.
    03 Another treasure is the 128-page hard cover coffee table size book with different detailed essays on different parts of his career. A highly educational and informative read. Then, there are countless gorgeous pictures, including Kay Starr, Jean Shepard, Molly Bee, the Dinning Sisters, Helen O’Connell, Ella Mae Morse, etc. Beside the detailed complete discography, we have beautiful pictures of 78 labels, album covers, 45 picture sleeves. I can safely say that nobody in the music industry can do such a thorough and professional job as only Bear Family can. I have a section in bookcase in my audio room that holds all my Bear Family books.


    01 In small letters on the discography page that you find out that this set only covers the period from 1949 to 1960. Mind you, all his charted singles on Billboard Hot 100 are up to 1959. But he has a lengthy charting career on the Billboard Country Chart up until 1976. I guess his output from 1962 to 1976 will be for one to two similar box sets by Bear Family Records, hopefully in the near future. Most labels in UK do not release materials beyond 1962 because of Public Domain laws. This limited coverage was not listed on the front cover (a little sneaky).
    02 Another major disappointment is when I went through the discography listing, some were written in red. In small letters, it was stated that this set does NOT include any of his sacred-themed recordings. This is a major let-down. I love his religious songs that only he can sing with such deep feelings and conviction, right from the heart. Currently, there is no decent box set on his religious albums. I hope someday soon Bear Family will release a separate box set with all his sacred-themed recordings. I will be the first in line to purchase that.


    I am still very happy to have purchased this box set with all his singles and albums from 1949 to 1961. Of course, I will still be searching for his materials beyond 1962 and all his sacred-themed recordings. Besides completeness, the sound is simply wonderful. The large book is another treasure. I purchased this box set from seller for half the regular price, and luckily with no duty charged. If you like Tennessee Ernie Ford a lot, this set is very highly recommended. Then, you can forget about all the other “Greatest Hits”, “Ultimate Collection” or “The Best of”. In the end, I am a very “Happy Man”. Thank you, Bear Family. I hope you will release other materials on my Dream List: (1) All the Pat Boone after 1962, (2) All the Connie Francis after 1962, and of course (3) the rest of Tennessee Ernie Ford. Amen.

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  • chuck levine says:
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    … a bit expensive but I wanted to have one amazing box of music and I got it, December 2, 2015

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Portrait Of An American Singer (Audio CD)
    This was a bit expensive but I wanted to have one amazing box of music and I got it. I would have liked some more clear organization to it as the holiday music and what I would think is ‘childrens’ music is all mixed together so it cam be a surprise when listening. The book is a wonderful history. It somehow needs a more cohesive arrangement to the music but that is what iTunes playlist a can do. There is hours of musical heritage here and it was well worth the cost.
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