In 2008, when I was recording the Charlie Haden Family & Friends album with my family in Nashville, my dad gave all us kids a copy of a book called The Ozarks' Greatest Hits: A Photo History Of Music In The Ozarks by Wayne Glenn.
I'm reading books constantly, plus I subscribe to 20+ magazines and comic books so you can imagine how long my reading queue is, but I finally finished all 537 pages of it last week. When I first started reading it, I kept online bookmarks of all the music the book mentioned, both well-known and obscure, but after a little while I realized if I kept doing that it would take me forever to finish the book. Luckily, the author supplied a list of 50 of what he considered the most important artists to emerge from the Ozarks regions of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma between ca. 1800s to the 1980s: "50 of the Ozarks' Greatest Hits".
I found 28 of these artists on Spotify and made a playlist containing them which can be found here: http://open.spotify.com/user/123142301/playlist/4IxSmftWBsL0ELWNsBcNkP.
My dad was born in Shenandoah, Iowa in 1937 and moved along with his family to the Ozarks (Springfield, MO), when he was a kid. The Haden Family was an important country/western/gospel group in the Ozarks in the 1930s to the 1950s and they figure prominently in the book. My favorite picture is of Chet Atkins horsing around on guitar with my grandfather Carl.
A link to the book is here: http://www.amazon.com/Ozarks-Greatest-Hits-Photo-History/dp/0976966093. PBS did an amazing piece about it here: http://video.optv.org/video/1392424315/.
For those of you who don't have Spotify here's a list of the artists and songs:
I'd Like To Be - Hugh Ashley
Best Of Friends from The Fox & The Hound - Buddy Baker
You're The Greatest - Dallas Bartley
There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving - Elton Britt
Abraham Lincoln - Albert Brumley w/ Anita Kerr Singers
Green Onions - Booker T. & The MGs
Dooley - The Dillards
Tennessee Stud - Jimmie Driftwood
Peace In The Valley - Red Foley
Keep On The Sunny Side/Roll Us Over The Tide - Haden Family
Organ Grinder's Swing - Joe Haymes
The Weight - The Band
How The Other Half Lives - Jan Howard
Gone - Ferlin Husky
Just A Closer Walk With Thee - The Jordanaires
Green Door - Jim Lowe
Spaceship Orion - Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Cool Water - Sons Of The Pioneers
Gold Digger's Song - Dick Powell
Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me - Wayne Raney
Frog Legs Rag - James Scott
Bop A Lena - Ronnie Self
Wishful Thinking - Wynn Stewart
A Satisfied Mind - Porter Wagoner
Skeleton Rag - Percy Wenrich
Speedin' West - Speedy West
Take My Breath Away (from Top Gun) - Tom Whitlock
Sparkling Brown Eyes - Wilburn Brothers