The actual title of this 20-song collection is Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage (2004) and it highlights some rare sides from Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage. Although no precise annotations are given, probable sources for the contents of this nearly three-quarter-hour CD are the Armed Forces Radio Service programs Command Performance, Melody Roundup, or, perhaps the stateside broadcast All-Star Western Theater. In fact, the latter presented Willing and company on a fairly regular basis. The combo was founded in the mid-'30s by Buck Page, who named the group after Zane Grey's 1912 western novel. Willing took advantage of their increasing personnel turnover, which was due largely to the demands of World War II. After Page's incarnation had ended, Willing formed his own version, which an earlier career in radio had all but primed him for. Ultimately, it was this incarnation of the Riders of the Purple Sage who became multimedia stars, making regular appearances on radio and in the cinema. This is an excellent compendium, capturing them at their peak and sporting some of their best-loved material. Among the more familiar tunes are "Ragtime Cowboy Joe," "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds," "Red River Valley," "Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie," and "You Are My Sunshine." Their unique up-tempo Western swing style features airtight vocal harmony blends, such as those heard on "There's a Rainbow Over the Range," "Out on the Texas Plain," and most prominently when covering the Sons of the Pioneers' classic, "Timber Trail," which is marked by a striking a cappella introduction. The sound quality is excellent throughout, and is equally impressive as so few vintage recordings exist circa the early- to mid-'40s.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer