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Stoney Edwards

Best Of: Poor Folks Stick Together – 1998 (Razor & Tie)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Stoney Edwards

Although Charley Pride was the only black country star, he had company on the charts. Stoney Edwards, O.B. McClinton and Al Downing charted exactly 15 songs each, without ever reaching real stardom. Edwards was the earliest of these three, coming along in 1971. His two biggest records, "She's My Rock" and "Mississippi You're On My Mind" (both included here), reached number 20.

Edwards was a solid singer, with more than a passing vocal resemblance to Pride, From fine country originals like "A Two Dollar Toy" and "Mama's Old Quilt," Edwards moved on to recording the songs of folk-flavored songwriters such as Jesse Winchester and Chip Taylor. The latter's "Blackbird (Hold Your Head High)" reached Number 41 despite its controversial inclusion of the phrase "country Niggers," which would make it unplayable (if not unreleasable) today.

Edwards charted during the most competitive period in history, in terms of the number of viable artists competing for country radio play. There are numerous country singers from the Seventies who were much better than their middling chart success would suggest. Edwards is one of them, and this collection provides a fine reminder or introduction.