Country Music

The First Alt-Country Record? Flatlanders Rediscover The Odessa Tapes

A lot of stellar music came out of that flat land known as West Texas. Bob Wills, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Terry Allen, Guy Clark, and the Sparkles are just a few artists who found something in the wind, the dust, the heat, the cactus, the mesquite, the sandstorms, the blizzards, the endless horizon, the solitude and isolation that translated into great music.

In January 1972, almost 20 years before Uncle Tupelo recorded No Depression and the media began to use the term "alternative country," a carload of Lubbock guys drove down to Tommy Allsup's recording studio in Odessa to record a glorified demo.

The purpose was to convince Shelby Singleton, the new owner of Sun Records, to sign the group and release an album. The resulting Odessa Tapes, recently released by New West Records, is considered by many to be the first alt-country recording.

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