Our next three Country Records of the Month — which you’ll receive if you sign up for VMP Country in April, May and June 2022 — feature an alt-country forefather, a modern superstar and one of the genre’s most enduring, important legends. Read below to find out more.
April: Doug Sahm and the Tex-Mex Trip’s Groover’s Paradise
Our Country Record of the Month in April is Doug Sahm and the Tex-Mex Trip’s Groover’s Paradise, an underrated 1974 release from the prolific artist. Sahm was one of the first artists to blend rock and country, starting with his band The Sir Douglas Quintet, and it’s impossible to listen to his music now and not hear all the spiritual kids he’s had across country music history.
Sahm was like a Forrest Gump of ’70s country, somehow always on the fringes when history was being made. He was on the cover of Rolling Stone twice in the ’60s and ’70s, and was the main reason for Jerry Wexler’s scouting trip to build Atlantic’s country imprint in the ’70s, which also led to Shotgun Willie. In fact, Sahm played on that record, and was around New York when it was being recorded. Groover’s Paradise was his last album on a major label, and features members of Creedence Clearwater Revival in both the band and the production booth. The album has not been reissued on vinyl since 1974. This edition comes on “Texas Sunshine” colored vinyl, remastered AAA from the original tapes by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound (plated at Welcome to 1979) and with new Listening Notes by VMP Country & Classics Director Andrew Winistorfer, who had this to say about Groover’s Paradise:
“I first heard Doug Sahm a few years ago on some list of ‘underrated country singers or albums’ or something like that, and when we launched VMP Country, I knew we needed to eventually feature him in our subscription, since VMP is at its best when we’re plumbing the depths of music history to bring our members records that might have fallen through the cracks for whatever reason,” Winistorfer said. “Listening to his music with modern ears feels like you’re discovering the missing link or a dinosaur who could talk: He bridges so many genres and eras even just in single albums and sometimes his songs. Groover’s Paradise was the pick because the involvement of CCR members right after that band broke up give this an added dimension: Yes, that’s really the ‘Fortunate Son’ guys playing honky tonk on this.”
Sign up to receive Groover’s Paradise now.
May: Miranda Lambert’s Revolution
In May, the VMP Country Record of the Month is Miranda Lambert’s Revolution. Her third studio album, it was her breakthrough into country superstardom, as it topped the Billboard Country Album charts, and was in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. It features covers of John Prine (“That’s The Way The World Goes Round”), and has Lambert’s first No. 1 single, “The House That Built Me.” Lambert wrote most of these songs on her own, or with Natalie Hemby, and it won both the CMA and the ACM Best Country Album of the Year awards. It has never been on vinyl until now, and it comes on exclusive 2LP Black & Mauve vinyl, with lacquers cut by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound (plated at Welcome to 1979), and new Listening Notes by Susannah Young.
“Miranda Lambert possesses this specific Cool Girl archetype’s enviable quality of being able to be open, honest and vulnerable, while never revealing anything that might give someone leverage over her,” Young writes in the Listening Notes for the album. “This is an attribute that, I think, contributes to how many people perceive her as an exercise in contradictions, or at least someone who’s difficult to pin down. She is an artist with a distinctive voice, wholly herself — but also the consummate collaborator, someone who has always used her power and platform to uplift her fellow artists, as well as the subjects of her songs. She is prickly and sweet, cool and commercial, writes songs that are exceptional and accessible. She’s a songwriter and an entertainer, a country star and a rock star. She isn’t as pop as many of her contemporaries, but she’s not whittling-and-loom-weaving Americana, either. These are tightropes she’s always walked, and still walks. Revolution is the moment she found her balance.”
You can sign up to receive Revolution starting on April 21.
June: Patsy Cline’s Showcase
And finally, our June Country Record of the Month is a masterpiece from one of modern country’s forebearers and most tragic figures: Patsy Cline. Showcase features all the hits that Patsy is remembered for — “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” “Walkin’ After Midnight” — and was remastered AAA from the original mono tapes by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound and plated at Welcome to 1979. This edition comes on 180g exclusive “Have You Ever Been Blue, Orange and Yellow” colored vinyl, and with the original album cover from 1961.
“Doing a Patsy Cline record was a no-brainer for me, and she’s been on the VMP Country whiteboard as long as the idea for VMP Country has existed,” said VMP Country & Classics Director Andrew Winistorfer. “For me, it always had to be Showcase, which was the last album that Patsy was alive for to see its success; she only released three LPs when she was alive, and her third takes on this tragic valence due to her plane crash. Showcase, however, is so full of life, so full of Patsy, that it’s still irresistible now, 61 years after it was originally released. It feels like the album that all her promise that was lost when she died was actually realized, without anyone knowing it at the time.”
You can sign up to receive Showcase starting on May 19.