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Roy Acuff

The Good News According To Mr. Roy Acuff – 2001 (Audium)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Roy Acuff

Culled from Roy Acuff's late '50s through early '70s tenure with Hickory, this 18-song compilation celebrates the best of the Grand Ole Opry legend's latter-day country-gospel recordings.

Acuff's message here is heartfelt and simple: pay more attention to the Holy Bible ("Dust On the Bible," "A Hundred and Forty Four Thousand"); look for earthly signs of Jesus ("Radio Station S-A-V-E-D," "I Saw the Light") and be thankful for His blessings ("Thank God"). Moreover, we should prepare for heaven ("Automobile Of Life," "I'm Building A Home In the Sky") because someday we're all going to die ("This World Can't Stand Long," "When I Lay My Burden Down," "The Precious Jewel"). Although backed by highly accomplished acoustic pickers and slick back-up vocalists, Acuff sounds every inch the Smokey Mountain hillbilly on these mostly uptempo sacred songs, achieving a "feel" often missing in similar offerings by neo traditionalists.

These days, reissue packages are viewed as historically important documentation. By that standard, this set's lack of meaningful annotation and session credits seems almost disrespectful. Regardless, the late "King Of Country Music" delivers trembling gospel penitence and raw-boned tent-revival hope at every turn and country purists can seek their salvation in it.