Diamonds & Dirt
The latest installments in Sony Music's ongoing "American Milestones" series - offering lovingly remastered classic albums, all studded with rare bonus tracks - spotlight some of country's more eclectic, underappreciated and sometimes rebellious artists.
Rodney Crowell has been underappreciated lately, but in 1988, his Diamonds & Dirt album became the first country album ever to spin off five consecutive No. 1 hits. Unfortunately, it's difficult to imagine this album - full of finely honed songs played with unforced rockabilly charm - finding a place on country radio today. Not much from the late '80s has aged well so far - Rodney's haircut on the cover, for example - but Diamonds & Dirt is an exception.
-- Chris Neal.