The Magic of Ronnie Ronalde looks at the early recordings of this British music hall singer known for his world-class whistling and yodeling talents. Overseas he enjoyed sold-out concerts and widespread acclaim, as well as a recording career that spanned decades, but never managed to break through in the United States despite having a few records released stateside. This anthology compiles 26 recordings, all of which come from 1949-1956 except for "Swedish Rhapsody," recorded in 1970. Ronalde has the sort of well-trained, well-enunciated singing style associated with Jim Nabors, but distinctively punctuates his songs with bird whistles and calls. The latter passages, paired with the lush orchestration associated with British light music, recall the "singing canary" programs that were once popular on radio, which consisted of the whistles and trills of birds over a bed of orchestral music. "I Miss My Swiss, My Swiss Misses Me" showcases Ronalde's Alpine-style yodeling, and the many bird songs provide convenient vehicles for his bird whistles. There is a pastoral quality to Ronalde's music because so many of his songs are about meadows, mountains, birds and such. Although he is a capable crooner of sentimental pop songs, it is Ronalde's fascinating skill as a whistler and yodeler that draws most listeners to his music.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams