Phil Ryan Osborne

Memorial Album

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This 27-song CD collects a sampling of the noncommercial recordings of Arizona local favorite Phil Ryan Osborne, including all eight of his acetate demos. Recorded in the early and mid-'50s, these cuts were made for the amusement of the participants rather than for the market; consequently, the performances are sometimes unpolished. "Juke Joint Baby," for example, is a fine Osborne original that is compromised by out-of-sync playing. The home recordings are particularly rough, having been recorded on primitive equipment. The material runs the gamut from cowboy songs to boogie to jazz-inflected pop to traditional country (including a Jimmie Rodgers medley). Osborne's train songs, particularly "High Rollin' Engineer" and "Diesel Engine on the Cannonball," benefit from superior songwriting and musicianship and relatively high fidelity, making these the highlights of the collection.