Various Artists

Heroes of Country Music, Vol. 1: Legends of Western Swing

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The first volume in Rhino's excellent Heroes of Country Music takes on the original purveyors of Western swing with 18 tasty tracks. Cut during the prime years of the '30s and '40s, the material features both stars (Bob Wills, Hank Penny, Leon McAuliffe, Light Crust Doughboys) and the relatively obscure (Jesse Ashlock, Dickie McBride, the Fort Worth Doughboys?). The music and lyrics run the gamut, too, covering classics (Modern Mountaineers' "Everybody's Truckin'"), boogie woogie (Spade Cooley's "Bogg's Boogie"), the depression (McAuliffe's "Panhandle Rag"), and even the raunchy side of the bedroom (Lightcrust's "Pussy, Pussy, Pussy"). Topped off with Hank Thompson's go at Woody Herman's "Woodchopper's Ball" and Tex Williams' aesthetes nod "Artistry in Western Swing," this Western swing sampler should work mighty fine for all those little doggies lookin' to break in to the big time.

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