Gene Autry

With His Little Darlin' Mary Lee

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Autry fans should be aware that, although the disc bears the name of Gene Autry as the artist, it's really more a collection of Mary Lee performances containing a few duets with Autry than the other way around. Autry, in fact, only appears on six of the songs; one of these, "Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie," is about the strongest (and most western-sounding) performance. Lee was a teenage actress who made nine films with Autry, which naturally gave her the chance to sing, both solo and with Autry, onscreen. These 16 tracks from 1939-1941, taken from the films themselves (there's an additional cut with dialogue only), are typically corny soundtrack fare of the period, not always exhibiting a strong connection to cowboy music. The package is well-annotated and so forth, but really advised for Autry or Lee lovers only.

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