Gene Autry was the original singing cowboy, and his voice is still echoes in the warm tone of today's "new traditionalist" balladeers. This disc documents 25 of the tunes that the Western film star recorded over the span of 15 years (1939-1954). A distinction must be made here between country and Western music. These are clearly Western tunes, travelogues of sorts that tell tales of life out on the trails, among the tumbleweed, riding through the hills and valleys or prairie flatlands. This is outdoor music, made up of campfire melodies and cowboy refrains.
Classics "Home on the Range" and "Back in the Saddle Again" are found here, and these tunes wonderfully evoke the image of the vast open landscapes, along with "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" and "South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)." In addition, the lesser-known Autry ballads "Rim of the Canyon" and "Purple Sage in the Twilight" make this compilation even more interesting. The haunting "Ghost Riders in the Sky" is also presented here. This song has been dusted off many times throughout the decades, (including a 1998 VH1 Storytellers performance by Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash), revealing the time-tested quality of these tunes.