Willie Nelson's "Stardust" is exceptional, especially the half-speed mastered version. I use it as a "test" record often.
I have very little country music although Patsy Cline and Hank Williams immediately come to mind. Unfortunately both passed on before the 1970s.
Last year a friend brought an album that sounded so good I searched it out and bought a copy. Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, "For The Last Time."
This is exactly the period you mention, recorded Dec, 1973 in Dallas, TX.
This album makes me laugh out loud every time I hear it, a combination of the unrestrained joy of the performers combined with unexpected lyrics. Bob Wills Sample MP3
This kind of music will not appeal to everyone but my diverse love for music found a spot for it. If your an LP guy, the original is a two LP box set, United Artists UA-LA 216J2 (0998)
I will second Ablert's endrosement. I bought this when it originally came out and it was great. Although 2/3rds of my collection is rock, about 15% is country. The final Bob Wills sessions have great players and is highly recommended to any fan of Western Swing. You might be surprised. But to answer the initial question I would look for sealed country vinyl from the 60's. You can find stuff by Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and others in sealed condition on the auction site.
Not country in the pure sense but Poco's "Rose of Cimarron" from 1976 on ABC and "Crazy Eyes" from 1973 on Epic are sonic delights.
The good news is that in general, most country music is well recorded. I agree with the "Stardust" recommendation. One that always stands out to me is "This Time" a Waylon Jennings album from the early 70's. A relatively unknown Willie Nelson plays on this album.
Ry Cooder 'Paris Texas' soundtrack,
Ry Cooder 'Jazz'(more of bluegrass)
I would'nt consider Ry Cooder " jazz" swing.
Oops, I meant blurgrass. To me it's more New Orleans jazz/ dixieland....
Haggard has always been very picky about his recordings and I suspect his stuff is well done. I have so very few country albums that I'm not sure. Another artist that I would look for is Don Williams. Everything I have of his is very well recorded.
Any Willie Nelson LP (Statdust) mastered by Bernie Grudman.
How about some Kris Kristifferson? I really enjoy listening to Silver Tongued Devil & I, and Border Lord (though not so much his first album on vinyl, for some reason).
Also Waylon/Honky Tonk Heroes sounds pretty awesome to me.
+Ebm! I'll go further. Stardust by anyone.
Will The Circle Be Unbroken.....
3 album set with great photography.
Thanks...purists might scoff...but picked up Ronstandt's Simple Dreams...wow...reference recording...also have 3 lp Circle as mentioned...very nice...how bout emmylou Harris?
I like the old school outlaw country singers like Waylon Jennings, David Allen Coe, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr and Johnny Cash. I have to admit to not being a huge fan of Willie Nelson though. As was already stated, much of country music from that era was well recorded and produced. Also, a lot of it is, more or less, unadorned with little processing. Maybe some eq leveling but nothing dramatic.
Years ago, I had heard existence of a duo album by George Jones and Glenn Campbell, together. They were both at a rock bottom period in their lives, at that time. Luckily they recovered. I have launched search, though never found any pertaining information. Anyone know??
Also...just found Charlie Daniels 'Fire on the mtn' recorded at capricorn...immaculate recording...impassioned performance
Waylon Jennings' 'Dreaming My Dreams' is a really terrific record. Not sure about the SQ, but there are a bunch of killer songs on it. The opener, "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" is a favorite -- great lyrics.
One of the very best - maybe THE best recorded album I have is called Class of 55 with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash....backup vocals by the Judds, June Carter Cash, John Fogerty, etc. It also is a wonderfully entertaining recording. It's digitally recorded and mixed, but you'd never know it. Mercury 830.002-1
Two Don Williams albums:
"Especially For You" & "I Believe In You"
Thanks to all...any stone cold classic hardcore jimmy tonk we missed...60s cool as well
Not 70s, but every Dwight Yoakum album I have heard sounds awesome.