Cowboy Copas

Songs That Made Him Famous

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After a flurry of hits in the late '40s and early '50s, Cowboy Copas went cold commercially for quite a few years, only to return to the country hit parade in the early '60s just a couple of years before his death. The early-'60s album Songs That Made Him Famous starts with three of those hits ("Flat Top," "Signed, Sealed and Delivered," and "Sunny Tennessee"), showing that his brand of affable if somewhat mild honky tonk remained undimmed. With its similarity to the tune of the standard "John Henry," "Flat Top" plugged slightly into the folk boom, though "Signed, Sealed and Delivered" was a sentimental ballad, and his own composition "Sunny Tennessee" was a relaxed yet exuberant celebration of the state. The rest of the album isn't up to the standards of the hits, but is adequate period early-'60s mainstream country fare, varying between country-pop ballads and reasonably forceful honky tonk (including the romping instrumental "Wildwood Flower" and "New Filipino Baby," a spin on his mid-'40s hit "Filipino Baby"). The 2012 reissue on Righteous almost becomes a best-of with the addition of nine bonus cuts, all of which were hits, most of them from the late '40s and early '50s (with his 1960 country chart-topper "Alabam" ending the CD). More rudimentary in most respects than the cuts on the Songs That Made Him Famous album, it's highlighted by the oddly cheerful "Hangman's Boogie" and "Alabam," which got into a talking-bluesy groove. This release would rate higher if not for the basic liner notes and less than ideal sound quality on a few of the bonus tracks, though it comes close to being a good overview of Copas' most popular work on other counts.

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