If you like country and western music you call it earthy, elemental, honest, traditional and as American as apple pie; if you hate it you call it crude, sentimental, redneck, vulgar, jingoistic. Horstman has compiled a wheelbarrow full of songs along with the comments of the men (only very rarely, women) who wrote 'em: Merle Travis, A. P. Carter, Jimmy Rodgers' kin, Hank Williams' kin, Red Foley, Ernest Tubbs, Roy Acuff and some of the current crop of Nashville chartmakers--Tom T. Hall, Loretta Lynn, Kristoffersen. They take a lot of trouble to say very little of significance about how the songs came to be. Anyway, Horstman has got the themes right including the nostalgia for the little old shack in the hills, those wailers about dying children (""Willie Roy, The Crippled Boy""), songs about meeting dear old mother (father, sister, true love) in the great home in the sky, songs about ""Cigarettes, Whusky and Wild, Wild Women,"" songs about driving the heavy trucks and riding the fast freight trains--the Orange Blossom Special and The City of New Orleans. And when all is said and sung, these are in fact, as Horstman points out, sad songs--""the music of a people who have led short, hard, severe lives."" We'd say that this was a collection which separates the wheat from the chaff except when you're talking about the Nashville sound the wheat very often is the chaff.