Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 01:00

Country Soul Sisters Soul Jazz****

Country music pays plenty of lip-service to the men who bucked Grand Ole Opry trends, yet you hear little about their female counterparts. This compilation, charting the rise of women in country music from 1952 to 1974, seeks to address that imbalance with contributions from both the names we know well (Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn) to less well known artists such as Barbara Mandrell, Kitty Wells, Diana Trask and others.

It shows how those artists challenged the Nashville establishment with songs about sexual harassment, prostitution, abortion and exploitation. From Kitty Wells’s It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels and Tanya Tucker’s California Cotton Fields to Jean Shepard’s Two Whoops and a Holler, these are songs that give the listener a righteous bang on the ear.

Download tracks:California Cotton Fields; Two Whoops and a Holler; Bobbie Gentry’s Reunion