For what it is, it can't be beat. What is it? It's a four CD set with 56 themes from some of the greatest westerns ever made for the big or the little screen. Which westerns are those? Everything from The Alamo to Wyatt Earp including Stagecoach, Bonanza, Shane and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly along with dozens of others. True, these are not the original performances, and those looking for Tex Ritter singing the theme from High Noon or Frankie Lane singing the theme from Blazing Saddles will have to settle for the big-toned but less than wholly compelling Jason Howard. But in compensation, the sound here is high-octane digital with a booming bass, a knife sharp treble and a mid-range as big as all outdoors. And true, these performances by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus conducted by either Paul Stateman or Nic Raine lack the true grit of the original performances by Hollywood studio orchestras of the Golden Age or Italian studio orchestras of the Spaghetti Age. But in compensation, the Czech players have at least the same level of professionalism and the conductors have perhaps more energy and enthusiasm. While few will listen all the way through all 56 themes in a single session, a sampling of a half dozen or so will be enough to get even the most staid suburbanite to slap on their six shooters, saddle up their mustang and head out to the wild, wild west.
The Magnificent Westerns Review
by James Leonard