Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

The Mix of Country and Rock


Most of Elvis Presley's hits also passed as country including "In The Ghetto," a somber and articulate self-explanatory song written by future country storyteller Mac Davis. Small-mindedness was countered in the uplifting Glen Campbell song "Try A Little Kindness." Even The Beatles covered a country song in 1965 with "Act Naturally," which made light of a sad and lonely person's natural qualifications for playing such movie roles.

But the first rock band to actually completely switch to country was the same band who ushered in psychedelic pop and that was The Byrds. They weren't as successful doing country but "Ballad Of Easy Rider" was one of their most introspective recordings that focused on environmental imagery and a back to nature attitude about following where the river flows. Then in 1969 another psychedelic band, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition crossed over to country with a song about a soldier crippled from the Vietnam War in "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town." The Band, who backed Bob Dylan, was one of the initial catalysts of the Southern rock genre in the late sixties. They paid tribute to the the old South in "The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down." Perhaps the band that became the most defining creative force on the new Southern rock sound from the late sixties on was the Allman Brothers Band.

Continue to "Classical Merges with Rock"