Johnny Western

Have Gun, Will Travel

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Johnny Western's only album for a major label wasn't recorded until he'd been with Columbia Records for three years, so it's a fully mature work, replendant in the lore and lure of the west. In addition to his third version of "The Ballad of Paladin," and the album features "The Lonely Man," one of Western's finest and most introspective vocal performances, the gallows ballad "Hannah Lee," the standard "The Streets of Laredo" (done with a bit too much drama), Stan Jones's hauntingly beautiful "Cowpoke" and "The Searchers," and "The Last Round-Up." The production is fairly elaborate at times, but, except for "The Streets of Laredo," never excessive, and Western's baritone sounded beautiful in those days. (out-of-print)