Various Artists

Cowboy Crooners Sing Songs of the West

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This two-disc collection highlights over an hour-and-a-half of 1940s vintage radio transcriptions featuring a host of country and western crooners. Although the sweet vocal style was popularized by the likes of the decidedly urbane Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, the rural sound of the American West also boasted a fair number of honey-toned singers, as the 40 tracks on Cowboy Crooners Sing Songs of the West (2004) aptly demonstrate. Many, if not all of these readings hail from Melody Roundup, a 15-minute program that aired daily for American service men and women over the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS). Included are well-known artists, such as the Sons of the Pioneers, ("Just a Happy Rovin' Cowboy") Tex Ritter ("Ballad of the 'Bo Weevil"), the Riders of the Purple Sage ("Cool Water"), Dale Evans ("My Heart Is Down Texas Way"), hubby Roy Rogers ("When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again"), as well as Eddy Arnold ("I Have to Live and Learn"). Likewise, slightly more obscure performers such as Judy Canova ("Along the Navajo Trail"), Johnnie Lee Wills("You Broke My Heart Little Darlin'") and Elton Britt("Darlin' What More Can I Do") are sprinkled liberally throughout the proceedings. This offers a real treat for listeners as old familiar tunes sit comfortably beside new-found or long-lost favorites. As these recordings vary in age and source, so too does the fidelity. With few exceptions, however, the sound is as rich and full as one might expect for sides that date back to the 1940s. It should be noted that this compilation consists of exclusive sessions documented for U.S. troops and should not be mistaken for a simple 'best-of' as each cut was done live specifically for broadcast, rather than retail. Cowboy Crooners Sing Songs Of The West is a Collectors' Choice Music exclusive and is part of the label's ongoing AFRS CD reissue series.

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