Gene Austin

Singer and Songwriter

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This Gene Austin collection consists of 11 undated recordings, possibly from the late '40s, considering that he includes "Careless Hands" and "Sunflower" (contemporary hits for Mel Tormé and Frank Sinatra, respectively). Virtually all of the rest are his own songs, most in a vaguely country & western style -- he was from Texas, after all, though his '30s persona was a mixture of urbane and folksy. Austin's voice is as bemused and understated as it was during his hitmaking era, and though he can't hit all of the high notes, he does spend some time in the upper register, halfway between a croon and a yodel. He also reprises two of his biggest hits of the '30s, "My Blue Heaven" and "The Lonesome Road" (the latter also composed by him but based on a spiritual). Elsewhere, "T-E-X-A-S Spells Texas" and "Give Me a Home in Oklahoma" make fair bids for regional distinction.

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