Various Artists

Home on the Range [Pavilion]

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It's sort of embarrassing that a collection of early cowboy songs as good as this has to come out of England. Gene Autry is represented by his stripped-down, mournful 1930 ballad "No One to Call Me Darling," the delightful 1938 "I've Got the Jailhouse Blues," the equally bluesy "I'll Always Be a Rambler," and two other seldom reissued numbers. Roy Rogers is here with "Colorado Sunset," but the really good material comes from the other side of the tradition, in the guise of Jimmie Rodgers and "Round Up Time Out West," "I've Only Loved Three Women," and "Any Old Time." The rarities here include superb tracks by the little-known Hillbillies (including a version of "Home on the Range" with a delightful trilling banjo) and Carson Robison & His Pioneers doing the sentimental "There's a Bridle Hangin' on a Wall" and the more upbeat "Blue River Train." The sound is very good, with most of the material drawn from British sources (especially EMI's Regal Zonophone label) pressed in the 1930s.

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