Bear Family Records® proudly announces the release of the third and final CD box set in their retrospective of Connie Smith’s RCA and Columbia recordings, The Latest Shade Of Blue: The Columbia Recordings 1973-1976, out November 19th. The limited-edition, 4-CD set includes all of the tracks from the second chapter in Connie Smith’s epochal recording career as she moved to the Columbia Records label from RCA Victor in 1973—and the first reissue of the majority of them.
The collection features classic, infectious 1970s honky-tonk singles such as “Just One Time,” “Ain’t Love A Good Thing,” her own co-write “You’ve Got Me Right Where You Want Me” and her hit takes on The Everly Brothers’ “(Till) I Kissed You” and “So Sad.”
Also included are dozens of out-of-print and long, hard-to-find recordings, including her unforgettable Christmas album Joy to the World, shaped by her own arrangements of sacred holiday songs, and the singular, history-making Connie Smith Sings Hank Williams Gospel.
In addition, The Latest Shade of Blue offers Connie Smith’s riveting interpretations of prime-era country songs from the pens of Dallas Frazier, Don Gibson, Bill Anderson, Doug Kershaw, Tom T. Hall, Lefty Frizzell, Harlan Howard, Eddie Raven and Jessi Colter. Also highlighted are detailed stories of Connie Smith’s close work with Columbia producers Ray Baker and George Richey, as they arrived at the song choices and up-to-date, yet traditionalist sounds that brought her through the pop-centric John Denver/Olivia Newton-John country era with her core classic country intact. The anecdotes are based on extensive new interviews with Smith and Baker themselves. They are found in the accompanying book by author Barry Mazor.
The Latest Shade of Blue is the third in Bear Family’s chronicle of one of country music’s most masterful vocalists in the years that cemented her reputation and renown, following the two sets covering her previous years at RCA Victor, Born to Sing (1964-1967) and Just For What I Am (1968-1972). The 80-page book includes dozens of previously unpublished photos, a detailed discography, a session-by-session discussion of the making of the records and an overview of Connie Smith’s life as she balanced session scheduling, Grand Ole Opry performances and touring performances while being an actively involved, dedicated mother of five. The introduction is by Connie’s husband and musical collaborator Marty Stuart, who has now joined her as an inducted member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The Latest Shade of Blue follows the August 2021 release of Connie Smith’s 54th album, The Cry of the Heart. The effort received high critical praise running throughout the US and overseas, including a segment on NPR All Things Considered and major features in The New York Times, Billboard, People.com, Paste, Wide Open Country, American Songwriter and more. Other positive coverage ran in media outlets such as The Associated Press, No Depression, UNCUT, The Sun, The Independent and others.