Various Artists

Golden Throats, Vol. 3: Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive

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The Golden Throats series focuses on hilariously/excruciatingly inept recordings by film and television personalities who thought they could sing, or tried to sing despite the gravest warnings of their inner child. Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive presents 17 such artifacts from 1958-1980, the theme (as the title indicates) being celebrity vocalists trying their hand at country standards. If you ever wondered how Leonard Nimoy would interpret "I Walk the Line," or Merv Griffin would work out on "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," here 'tis. There are also efforts in this vein by Telly Savalas, Slim Pickens, Goldie Hawn, and others, spiced by an attempt at "Almost Persuaded" by Louis Armstrong (proving that great vocalists can do country as badly as the worst of them) and Lorne Greene's French version of his 1964 gunfighter narrative, "Ringo." Just the fact that these frequently awful, often downright bizarre and ill-conceived performances were released boggles the mind. As a contemporary listening experience, like most productions of this kind, it's fun the first few times, but not the kind of thing you're likely to pull out often, and probably heard better in the context of a college radio special program.

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