Roy Rogers

Happy Trails: The Roy Rogers Collection 1937-1990

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AllMusic Review by

This box is a brilliant achievement, and all the more surprising for what it does to elevate Roy Rogers' musical reputation. Essentially, Roy Rogers had two distinct musical periods -- the first, in the Sons of the Pioneers from 1931 to 1937, is considered the more important; the second, as the singing cowboy star, far less important even though he became a cultural icon. Happy Trails: The Roy Rogers Collection offers a complete reconsideration of Rogers' post-Sons of the Pioneers musical career, offering a vast selection of previously lost songs, which greatly expand the range of music with which he is associated. Rather than assembling a collection of his commercial recordings, which concentrated on the most marketable side of Roy Rogers, Rhino producer James Austin went to Rogers' own archives and retrieved dozens of radio broadcasts, rehearsal tapes and live performances by Rogers, Dale Evans, the Sons of the Pioneers, the Riders of the Purple Sage, Pat Brady, and Gabby Hayes, that have been unheard for 50 years. The repertory they performed on those shows was infinitely wider ranging than Rogers' official record releases: traditional country songs of the 19th century, established country hits, older Pioneer hits reprised, Tin Pan Alley, bluegrass, swing and jazz, and even classical elements get a hearing. The pacing of these performances is also marvelous -- Rogers' solo material, often featuring his inimitable yodelling, is sandwiched between Rogers/Sons of the Pioneers performances that are a match for any of their classic '30s work. The notes give us not only the background of the particular recordings by Rogers and company, but also the history of the songs themselves. The booklet is well annotated and illustrated, and the sound is pretty much beyond reproach, especially considering the half-century age of much of the unissued material.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:41
2 2:58
3
1:43
4
2:35
5 2:23
6
2:06
7 1:23
8
1:56
9
2:37
10 1:43
11 2:31
12
1:36
13 2:07
14 1:40
15
3:01
16 1:50
17
1:59
18
1:22
19
1:57
20 2:24
21
2:54
22
1:30
23
feat: Dale Evans
2:02
24
3:20
25
2:41
26 2:22
27
feat: Dale Evans
1:55
28
1:41
29
2:08
30 6:42

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:57
2
2:20
3
1:51
4
1:39
5
2:16
6 3:41
7
feat: Dale Evans
1:54
8
2:50
9 2:53
10
feat: Dale Evans
2:38
11
feat: Dale Evans
2:25
12
2:37
13
1:46
14
1:33
15 3:25
16 2:16
17
feat: Dale Evans
2:12
18
2:37
19
feat: Dale Evans
2:12
20
3:11
21
2:05
22 3:04
23
1:45
24 2:12
25
2:09
26 2:36
27
feat: Dale Evans
2:09
28 3:00
29 2:07
30
feat: Dale Evans
2:35
31
0:42
32
2:03

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:11
2 3:08
3
2:50
4 2:48
5 3:01
6
1:35
7 1:27
8
feat: Dale Evans
2:38
9 2:35
10
2:33
11
2:50
12
2:59
13 2:56
14 3:02
15
2:25
16 2:17
17
feat: Dale Evans
1:33
18
feat: Dale Evans
1:53
19
feat: Dale Evans
2:43
20
feat: Dale Evans
2:36
21
feat: Dale Evans
2:05
22 2:30
23
feat: Dale Evans
2:45
24 2:53
25 2:27
26 2:36
27 2:43
28
3:15
29 2:21
30
feat: Dusty Rogers
3:35
31
0:50
32
feat: Dale Evans
0:32
blue highlight denotes track pick