Various Artists

Texas Music, Vol. 2: Western Swing & Honky Tonk

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Not just valuable to Texas music fans, but also to country music enthusiasts of all kinds, this 18-track compilation is heaviest on western swing classics from the 1930s and 1940s, and also has a bit of 1950s honky tonk and western swing revival from the 1970s. Bob Wills, Milton Brown, the Light Crust Doughboys, and Floyd Tillman are all represented with classics, and there are less expected highlights like Roy Newman's "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby," which Carl Perkins would record (with considerable alteration to the music and the words) in the 1950s, providing in turn the basis for the Beatles' cover version. The Light Crust Doughboys' "Knocky-Knocky" and Cliff Bruner's "Milk Cow Blues" show how close blues could roam to the center of western swing. Renowned tunes by Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell, and Hank Thompson signify honky tonk's golden years; Ted Daffan offers the 1942 version of "Born to Lose," now a country standard; and zydeco even creeps in with Harry Choates' "Harry's Blues." Johnny Gimble, Asleep at the Wheel, and Alvin Crow bring the disc to a close with cuts from the 1970s. An excellent overview of the best in vintage Texas country sounds, with something to offer both the novice and the collector.

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