Various Artists - Bill Anderson Hosts Backstage at the Opry
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Bill Anderson Hosts Backstage at the Opry (RCA, 2000)

Various Artists

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

Don't be misled by the title of this album. Most of the songs are recycled studio recordings rather than relics from the archives of the Grand Ole Opry, and the bulk of the interview content was recorded for this project and are not from actual broadcasts.

Only Roy Acuff's "Wabash Cannonball," a comedy routine by Acuff and Minnie Pearl, and the brand new "Hard To Be A Husband, Hard To Be A Wife" by Brad Paisley and Chely Wright appear to be actual recordings from the Opry. There are some interesting inteview clips with Bill Anderson and some of the artists. It's fun to hear Alan Jackson and Lorrie Morgan describe the fear and excitement they felt when they first performed at the Ryman, but it's a letdown to have those reminiscences followed up by studio tracks. The attempt to deceive appears to be intentional at times, as songs by Hank Snow, Dottie West and Boxcar Willie are augmented with fake crowd noise at the beginning and end.

Aside from vintage interviews with Acuff, Snow and Boxcar Willie most of producer Anderson's talks are with such recent RCA artists as Paisley, Diamond Rioand Martina McBride.

This offers little of signicance. This disappointing project is clearly an attempt by RCA to exploit the 75th anniversay of the Grand Ole Opry.

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