Rex Allen, Jr.

Oklahoma Rose

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Rex Allen Jr. is to be commended for putting Western swing and cowboy music on the country chart at a time when it was full of pop in country clothing by the likes of Barbara Mandrell and Kenny Rogers. His 1980 album contained two such hits, the Top 20 Western swing of "It's Over" and the contemporary cowboy ballad "Yippi Cry Yi," on which Allen even yodeled a bit. "Drink It Down, Lady," a barroom singalong, was the album's third and final hit. Allen wasn't immune to the pressures of the marketplace, though -- just listen to the hard rock guitar fills and phase shifters on "Good Time" for proof. "Hollywood" is only the toss of a hat away from Billy Joel, and Bobby Wood's keyboard adds a sugary glaze to practically all of the ballads. As a result, the album is all over the map with its assortment of traditional and progressive country sounds. Oklahoma Rose may be spotty, but until a good, comprehensive anthology comes along, many of Allen's hits can be found only on his original albums.