- ROY ACUFF: THE ESSENTIAL ROY ACUFF: 2004: COUNTRY: GRADE: A-. APPLE: Roy Acuff was called The King Of Country Music and he was the most important figure in the history of the Grand Ole Opry- and he was in the late 30’s- 1940’s probably the most popular country singer. That said- a couple of years ago when Rolling Stone had a special issue ranking the 100 Greatest Country Artists- I think they got it right in ranking Acuff at #66. Although he was an important early artist- musically and in bringing business into the music- after listening to this two disc set- 40 songs I had heard enough. With the other artists I have covered so far- especially Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family and Bob Wills I was wanting more- not with Acuff. His signature songs- “The Great Speckled Bird”, “The Wreck On The Highway”, The Wabash Cannonball” I will give Acuff his credit as a pioneering country artist- and an important one- but overrated as an artist.