Up Country ………
For most British country fans during the 1980s, Alabama must have been a complete musical enigma as just about every time you picked up a UK country magazine you would find Alabama riding high in the American country charts, yet I believe that they meant very little to the average British country fan during this era. Most of us were paying good money to listen to the likes of Don Williams, Charley Pride, Box Car Willie, Billie Jo Spears and others, artists who could not only sell lots of records here in the UK, but who toured regularly and filled concert halls!
Alabama must have been amongst the most unknown major country act of that era in Britain! The reason is simple, I can hardly remember many of their albums being actually released here, and as far as I know they never toured the UK. No doubt a classic case of a group making mega money in the States and never bothering to cross the pond!
So I ask myself, who is going to rush out and buy this? The two albums in question are good, but in my opinion sound dated. I always ask the question with re-issues from another era, is there anything really outstanding and worthy to be re-issued? Thankfully there are some very good tracks scattered about. The title track Mountain Music and Dixieland Delight are two top quality country tracks, with plenty of fiddle making them really ‘country’, but regarding the second album in particular, much of it sounds like rather dated country rock.
If this genre was what you enjoyed, I think the Eagles were much better, far more memorable top quality songs, ironically from a group who unlike Alabama never claimed to be ‘country’ but who regularly recorded country type songs, some of which became big hits in the UK. Herein lies the difference: The Eagles regularly toured the UK, and I think as far as British country fans are concerned will be much more fondly remembered than Alabama. However if you did enjoy their music you could do no better than to pick up this very good value two for one release! David Brassington