Tex Ritter

The Best of Tex Ritter [Capitol]

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Cast in the mold of Gene Autry, Tex Ritter first gained fame starring in over 80 Westerns during the '30s and '40s. After his film career folded in the early '40s, Ritter became the first country artist to sign to Capitol Records. His run of hits on the label lasted through the '60s and included such classics as "High Noon," "There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder," and "Jealous Hearts." This early best-of roundup includes those and several other hits recorded between 1943-1966. With his deep and gravelly voice in fine form, Ritter (at times sounding like a mix of Autry and Tennessee Ernie Ford) also shines on the Autry-inspired "We Live in Two Different Worlds," comedic fare like "Rye Whiskey" and "Boll Weevil," the old-timey waltz "Green Grow the Lilacs," and the kitschy yet incredible remembrance of country luminaries, "I Dreamed of a Hill-Billy Heaven." Topped off with fine narrative songs like "Deck of Cards" and everything from banjo and accordion numbers to choral backdrops, this Tex Ritter collection might be outdated, but it still serves as a fine bargain introduction to the country star's long career.

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