Eddy Arnold

Wanderin'

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Eddy Arnold recorded a few albums devoted to folk and traditional songs in his career, and Wanderin' is one of them. The album, made in 1955, is one of Arnold's best LPs, featuring his exquisite baritone in an appealingly spare commercial folk setting (acoustic guitar, strings, vocal chorus) in which the pop elements are subdued enough to be inoffensive. The songs are nearly all well-worn favorites in the public domain, but Arnold elaborates on the melodies with melancholy minor-key flourishes that add new depth to songs that might otherwise be taken for granted. The 14-song program is unusually generous for the time and includes western ballads ("Home on the Range") alongside ancient traditional folk songs like "Barbara Allen." The title track gained a new life on James Taylor's 1975 album Gorilla, but Arnold's version is even more plaintive. Recommended.

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