Louise Massey & Her Westerners

Ridin' Down That Old Texas Trail

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Ridin' Down That Old Texas Trail is a sequel to the 1997 Bronco Buster disc Swing West, and reissues an additional 25 recordings by Louise Massey & Her Westerners from the '30s and '40s without overlap. The set begins with "Beer and Skittles," the group's instrumental hit from 1941, before presenting a myriad of polkas and crooning pop songs with alternating lead vocalists. The sides on which Louise sings, particularly songs like "Dream Valley" and Gene Autry's "We Never Dream the Same Dream Twice," would be indistinguishable from traditional pop if not for the string band and accordion backing. Massey's husband, Curt Massey, tended to handle the more overtly country material, but here even his contributions are often performed crooner-style. The most festive cuts are the group vocal performances of traditional songs, like "Go in and Out the Window" and "Lil Liza Jane," and the lone novelty, Tex Owens' "Good Old Turnip Greens." All of the recordings are taken from commercial 78s, not transcriptions; the transfers are similar in sound quality to the Document label's hillbilly series -- listenable, but rough in places. Massey was a very popular performer and a pioneer deserving of retrospection, and her two anthologies exhume a wealth of material for the curious or nostalgic.