Jimmy Wakely

Santa Fe Trail

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Santa Fe Trail is a late-'50s album of western favorites performed by silver-screen cowboy Jimmy Wakely with the Jud Conlon Singers and the Three Rays. Several years had passed since Wakely's last hit when this was recorded, but the atmospheric production and Wakely's Bing Crosby-influenced singing created a mesmerizing evocation of twilight on the trail. "Red River Valley," "Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle," and "Blue Shadows on the Trail" are a few of the well-worn western standards Wakely tackles, but his versions are so lovely it's impossible to complain. The instrumental arrangements are understated, with simple accordion, harmonica, and acoustic guitar, but purists may object to the lush vocal chorus, which makes the proceedings sound like western mood music at times. It's an undeniably beautiful collection of recordings, though, and a nice return to Wakely's western roots after years of making crossover hits.

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