Friday, July 12, 2024

Beyonce Country Album: “Rhythm, Country, and Blues” Did It 30 Years Ago with Legendary R&B Stars Like Patti Labelle, Al Green, Sam Moore


Everyone’s excited about Beyonce’s “Cowboy Carter” album. It’s very good, great even, and should secure Ms. Knowles with her first Album of the Year next January.

But groundbreaking? Not really. Exactly 30 years ago there was an album and a documentary called “Rhythm, Country & Blues.” It mixed top country stars with R&B stars.

The R&B stars were Sam Moore, Patti Labelle, Little Richard, BB King, Natalie Cole, The Pointer Sisters, Aaron Neville, The Staples Singers, Allen Toussaint, and Al Green. I’m sure they’re reading all the publicity about Beyonce and saying, “Huh? We did that 30 years ago!”

Not to take anything away from Beyonce. The album is personal to her because she grew up in Texas. But most of the R&B singers from “Rhythm, Country, and Blues” also grew up in the South — or had roots there.

By the way, the album debuted at Number 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums. It was a huge hit, and remains available on streaming and on CD. The duets hold up very well, too.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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