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THE SKILLET LICKERS Document DOCD 8060 Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 5 : 1930-1934 ● CD $15.98

THE SKILLET LICKERS Document DOCD 8061 Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 6 : 1934 ● CD $15.98

BOB SKYLES & HIS SKYROCKETS Krazy Kat 29 1937-1940 ● CD $16.98
27 tracks, 75 mins, highly recommended
 Delightful collection of sides by this excellent band. They could loosely be described as a Western Swing - they were from Texas and their music has a country swing to it but there is also a dance band flavor to their music and a high proportion of their material could be considered novelty music. At times they have a similarity to The Hoosier Hot Shots though as they clearly point out in one of their songs We're Not The Hoosier Hot Shots! Skyles was a name given to them by A&R man Eli Oberstein - they were primarily a family band originating in the medicine shows prevalent in the 20s and 30s. They were led by Bob Kendrick (who did most of the lead vocals) and featured brothers Sanford and Clifford and, on the earlier sides, their father "Doc" on guitar. All of them were multi instrumentalists and instrumentation on these sides includes fiddle, clarinet, drums, washboard, guitar, trumpet, trombone, slide whistle, electric guitar, accordion, tuba and more. Songs are mostly originals and includes She's Built Like A Great Big Fiddle/ The Lavender Cowboy/ Turn Loose & go to town/ Too Many Times/ rubber Dolly/ I Ain't Got No Gal/ Drinking Blues/ Jive & Smile/ That's Right I Betcha and others. Sound quality is excellent and the 24 page booklet includes high quality notes form Kevin Coffey based on interviews with band members plus photos and discographical information. (FS)

ARTHUR "GUITAR BOOGIE" SMITH Cattle CCD 236 The Golden Age Of Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith ● CD $18.98
25 tracks, recommended
Fine selection of sides from this talented and versatile musician recorded for the Super Disc in the 40s and mostly acquired by MGM in 1948. The set is pretty evenly divided between instrumentals and vocals. Their are several boogies featured inn the wake of Arthur's phenomenal success with Guitar Boogie Cracker Boogie/ Guitar & Piano Boogie and More Guitar Boogie as well as 12the Rag/ Mountain Be Bop/ Boomerang/ Guitar Artistry and others. On a couple of the instrumentals Arthur plays banjo in a style very much like his guitar playing. The vocals, usually by Arthur a mix of old timey, 40s style hillblly, sentimental songs and some very goofy novelties like The Corset Song and Foolish Questions. Sound quality is excellent and their are brief notes on Arthur's career in the 4 page booklet. (FS)

ARTHUR "GUITAR BOOGIE" SMITH Jasmine 3502 Here Comes The Boogie Man ● CD $11.98
22 tracks, 54 mins, recommended
Fine collection of acoustic guitar instrumentals by this brilliant guitarist recorded in the late 40s including his biggest hit and most famous song Guitar Boogie. Accompanied by a second guitarist he performs a mix of originals (Stuff And Such/ Rock & Rye Polka/ Riffin/ Boomerang [also a hit]/ More Guitar Guitar Boogie, etc) and jazz & pop standards (Darktown Strutters Ball/ Drifting & Dreaming/ Shiek Of Araby, etc). Although thought of as a country guitarist Smith was very strongly influenced by jazz and his debt to the great Django Reinhardt is very evident on many of the cuts. The music throughout is nothing less than brilliant though the sound quality takes it down a notch - some of the cuts are from fairly noisy 78s and the engineers overuse of CEDAR results in an annoying background noise. (FS)

ARTHUR "GUITAR BOOGIE" SMITH Jasmine 3521 One Good Boogie Deserves Another ● CD $11.98

ARTHUR "GUITAR BOOGIE" SMITH Jasmine 3530 Have A Little Fun ● CD $11.98
Jasmine's third collection of this talented and versatile musician contains a higher percentage of vocals featuring either Arthur or fellow Crackerjack Ray Lear who sometimes duets with Arthur's wife Betty. Most of the vocals fall into the novelty category including Chew Tobacco Rag/ Mr. Stalin You're Eating Too High On The Hog/ He Went That-A-Way/ Somebody Left Another Young 'Un At Out House/ Conversation With A Mule and others. There are also some fine guitar instrumentals from Arthur as well as couple where he shows his prowess as a fiddler.

CARL SMITH B.A.C.M. 055 Satisfaction Guaranteed ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 67 mins, essential
Sterling reissue of early sides by this superb honky tonk singer from Tennessee who has been poorly served on reissues - with the exception of the big Bear Family box set and a couple of collections that feature only his hits. This selection is drawn from recordings made between 1950 and '53 by the man who was a star the equal of Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price or Webb Pierce during the second flowering of honky tonk that took place in the 1950's. Includes hits like Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way/ Let's Live A Little/ Hey Joe/ Mr. Moon/ If Teardrops Were Pennies/ Our Honeymoon/ Are You Teasing Me/ Satisfaction Guaranteed, plus lesser known but outstanding items like Guilty Conscience/ Me And My Broken Heart (a little known Hank Williams composition)/ Sing Her A Love Song/ I Won't Be Home/ I bet You My Heart I Love You/ Washing My Dreams In Tears and others. One of a generation of country singers inspired and influenced by Hank Williams, Smith's stylistic debt to his friend is evident, but he managed to forge a unique sound of his own, featuring his open, sincere vocals, bottom-heavy lead guitar up front, with twittering steel guitar fills and occasional fiddle. This stuff seems to have been invented for beer joint juke boxes. Excellent sound and brief notes by Brian Golbey. (FS)
CARL SMITH: Are You Teasing Me/ Guilty Conscience/ Hey Joe/ I Bet You My Heart I Love You/ I Overlooked An Orchid/ I Won‘t Be Home/ If Teardrops Were Pennies/ It‘s A Lovely Lovely World/ Just Wait til I Get You Alone/ Let Mother Nature Have Her Way/ Let‘s Live A Little/ Little Girl In My Home Town/ Me And My Broken Heart/ Mr. Moon/ My Lonely Heart‘s Running Wild/ Our Honeymoon/ Satisfaction Guaranteed/ Sing Her A Love Song/ That‘s The Kind Of Love I‘m Looking For/ This Orchid Means Goodbye/ This Side Of Heaven/ Washing My Dreams In Tears/ When You Feel Like You‘re In Love/ Who‘ll Buy My Heartaches

CARL SMITH Bear Family BCD 15849 Satisfaction Guaranteed ● CD $129.98
5 discs, 143 tracks, essential
Today he's known mainly as Carlene Carter's dad. In his prime, Carl Smith was hotter than any of the one-hit no-talents dominating the charts these days. Furthermore, he had an opportunity to do something none of today's tight-jean bozos will ever get: to quit performing by choice. For years, he and wife Goldie Hill, another star of the 50's, have concentrated on breeding horses, and his career has passed into the mists of history. This comprehensive set covers Smith's career from 1950 through 1959 beginning with his earliest material from 1950, when he got the contract as an adjunct to joining the Opry. The early fifties were his biggest years, starting with his 1951 hit Let's Live A Little and, that same year, the biggest record of his career: Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way. He did well through the early part of the decade with When You Feel Like You're In Love/ Don't Just Stand There/ Hey Joe, Loose Talk and so on up through his 1959 saga song Ten Thousand Drums. In the fifties, Smith also had one of the finest backup bands in Nashville: the Tunesmiths, featuring hot lead guitar from former Hank Williams lead guitarist Sammy Pruett, heavy-bowing fiddler Dale Potter (a regular on many 1950's Nashville sessions by others as well) steel guitarist Johnny Sibert. Drummer Buddy Harman did his first country music work with Smith before becoming a Nashville studio legend. Included here are Smith's 1952 gospel recordings with the Carter Family that originally appeared on the rare 10-inch "Softly and Tenderly" LP and the 1957 Sunday Down South gospel LP. Everything on his Carl Smith and Smith's The Name 10-inch LP, the 12-inch Let's "Live A Little" LPs, etc. also appear. Charles Wolfe interviewed Smith for his notes which, regrettably, aren't longer. Sony Legacy's The Essential Carl Smith CD will sate the appetites of casual Smith fans. This one is, like most Bear Family box sets, for the hardcore who want it all. (RK)

CARL SMITH Tee-Vee TVCD 6026 The Legendary Carl Smith ● CD $11.98
20 track collection featuring remakes (possibly the late 70s) of some of his many Columbia hits of the 50s. Carl was still in fine voice and the arrangements are straight ahead - Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way/ Mr. Moon/ Back Up Buddy/ Hey Joe/ If Teardrops Were Pennies/ You Are The One/ Satisfaction Guaranteed/ Our Honemoon/ Let's Live A Little/ I Overlooked An Orchid, etc.

CONNIE SMITH Bear Family BCD 16368 Born To Sing ● CD $99.98
Four CD set devoted to recordings of one of country's finest female country singers. This set features all of Connie's recordings cut for RCA between 1964 and 1967.

CONNIE SMITH RCA 66824 The Essential Connie Smith ● CD $11.98
20 tracks, essential
This one hits the right ones, Once A Day, and heads on through all the high points, Then and Only Then, I Can't Remember, If I Talk to Him, Ain't Had no Lovin', The Hurtin's All Over, I Never Once Stopped Loving You, You and Your Sweet Love, I'll Come Running, Burning A Hole in My Mind, Just One Time, and so on. This material holds up incredibly well, with the kind of traditional feel head and shoulders above Trisha Yearwood's music for soccer moms, Kathy Mattea's hippie spirituality or Shania Twain's hacked together arena-rock. This isn't the package Connie deserves, but it's certainly a start. (RK)

JON SMITH Bronco Buster 9046 Classics Of The Purple Sage ● CD $18.98
20 Western songs recorded in the late 60s and 70s.

RAY SMITH Cattle 271 Hell's Fire ● CD $18.98
26 tracks by pleasing but obscure California country singer recorded between 1946 and 1951. Ray had a warm dark voice and was accompanied by some fine session musicians including excellent steel guitarist Vaughn Horton on several tracks. Material includes some fine covers of country hits like Born To Lose/ Remember Me/ So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed/ Wedding Bells and others as well as less familiar material. The title song is an amusing novelty items.
RAY SMITH: An Old Christmas Card/ Born To Lose/ Hell's Fire/ I'm A Fool To Care/ I'm Glad For Your Sake (but I'm Sorry For Mine)/ I'm Saving Mother's Wedding Ring For You/ I'm Throwing Rice (at The Girl I Love)/ Jolly Old Saint Nicholas/ Just A Few Miles From Home/ Mommy Can I Take My Doll To Heaven/ My Daddy Is Only A Picture/ No Trespassing/ Pretty Little Eyes Of Blue/ Rainbow/ Remember Me/ Roll Along Kentucky Moon/ Rose Of Old Monterey/ Snowdeer/ So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed/ Tennessee Polka/ The Leaf Of Love/ The Sun Has Gone Down (on The Only One I Love)/ Waltz Of The Alamo/ Wedding Bells./ When My Day Rolls Around/ You're The Only Star (in My Blue Heaven)

SAMMI SMITH Varese Vintage VSD 5574 The Best Of Sammi Smith ● CD $11.98
16 songs, recommended
After her 1970 hit version of Kris Kristofferson's Help Me Make It Through The Night earned her a Gold Record and numerous awards, everybody expected great things from Sammi Smith that never came to pass. Trying all kinds of material, remaining close to the Outlaw fringe of country, she never quite lived up to her potential, and had her final Top Ten in 1975 with Merle Haggard's Today I Started Loving You Again in 1975. Those songs from Mega are included as are 12 more including her first Mega hit, He's Everywhere, the Top Ten followup, to Help Me Make It, Then You Walk In, her own composition Kentucky. I've Got To Have You and so on. From Cyclone come the A-sides of her 1979 singles What A Lie and her cover of the Box Tops' pop hit The Letter. (RK)
SAMMI SMITH: City Of New Orleans/ Cover Me/ For The Kids/ He's Everywhere/ Help Me Make It Through The Night/ I Miss You Most When/ I've Got To Have You/ Kentucky/ Long Black Veil/ My Window Faces South/ The Letter/ The Rainbow In Daddy's Eyes/ The Toast Of '45/ The You Walk In/ Today I Started Loving You Again/ What A Lie/ You're Right Here

WALTER SMITH & FRIENDS Document DOCD 8062 Volume 2-North Carolina Blues (March 1930-February 1931 ● CD $15.98

WARREN SMITH Bear Family BCD 15495 Call Of The Wild ● CD $21.98
Now that everybody's gotten just about everything that matters from Warren Smith's distinguished Sun records rockabilly career (several times over in most cases), Bear Family has moved on to the first phases of his post-Sun country music career (1960-1967) with Liberty and Skill labels. This CD sums up those years, which yielded 31 songs (all but one included here--the other is missing). From 1960 until his death in 1980, Smith had his ups and downs musically (as well as personally, as explained by Hank Davis's excellent liner notes), yet there were some fine moments that show Warren as powerful a honkytonk vocalist as he was a rocker. Cave In, the first song he cut for Liberty, deserved to be a success. If you've collected the Sun rockers, this brings the chronicles of Smith's career full circle. The usual fantastic Bear Family sound makes it all the more enticing. (RK)

JIM SMOAK & THE LOUISIANA HONEYDRIPPERS Arhoolie 9032 Bayou Bluegrass ● CD $9.98
21 tracks recorded for Harry Oster in 1961 by Louisiana based bluegrass band led by singer/ banjo player Jim Smoak who had previously worked with Bill Monrpe, Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith and others. Mostly traditional tunes including a couple from Louisiana. Most of this material was issued by Oster in 1961 on a Folklyric LP and in 1972 on LP by Arhoolie. For the CD issue four previously unissued tracks have been unearthed.

HANK SNOW Bear Family BCD 15426 The Singing Ranger - Movin' On ● CD $85.98
This four CD set covers four critical; years and 105 RCA recordings in the career of Hank Snow: the years 1949 through 1953 when after success in Canada and previous failures to break through in the U.S. market he finally made it here. Appropriately enough it begins with his first tepid success Marriage Vow, then kicks into high gear with the classic I'm Movin' On (1950) that sent Hank's reputation into high gear and made him a legend as well as later hits like Bluebird Island/ Music Makin' Mama/ Golden Rocket, the original (Now And Then Ther's) A Fool Such As I, various gospel and Christmas songs and outstanding versions of several Jimmie Rodgers classics. There was little that RCA didn't issue on Hank, but the five songs that were left in the can are here. Much of the music of Hank's era was sentimental, so you get a few teeth-grinding recitations and the camp classic The Blind Man's Dog, a world war II ballad about a kid who gives his seeing-eye dog to Uncle Sam. Fido, of course, makes the Ultimate Sacrifice, but we never do find out how (distemper? a jeep ? mistook a pillbox for a fireplug? sentenced to death for biting an officer?). Except for a few songs recorded onto worn acetates -- and even those sound good - the clear remasterd digital sound typical of Bear Family gives these recordings a sparkle and depth they never had before while preserving their warmth. An elaborate booklet, loaded with full-color photos including vintage album jackets and other memorabilia, includes outstanding notes by Charles Wolfe that summarize Snow's career and explains the creation of the distinctive, driving and precise Snow sound. (RK)

HANK SNOW Bear Family BCD 15476 The Singing Ranger, Edition 2 ● CD $85.98
This four CD set covering the period of December, 1953 to April, 1958 compiles 105 RCA sides, 23 never before released. More than the first set, this collection shows variety and experimentation on a level befitting one of Snow's status. He tried everything: Hawaiian music, Caribbean numbers before anyone ever heard of Calypso. Always a hot acoustic guitarist, he and Chet Atkins did some excellent instrumentals like "Silver Bell," a 1955 hit duet with Chet Atkins. Naturally, you get all the other hits of this period: "Mainliner," "Cryin' Prayin' Waitin' Hopin'," "Born to Be Happy," "I'm Glad I Got to See You Once Again," "Tangled Mind," "My Arms Are A House," "Hula Rock" and "Conscience I'm Guilty." Some of the best performances are surprises, like his version of the pop song "Lazy Bones" and a terrific cover of Ivory Joe Hunter's "I Almost Lost My Mind. 16 numbers are acetate recordings (most previously released on LP) as well as a number of unreleased solo guitar instrumentals including a version of Glenn Miller's "Sunrise Serenade." also took a number of stabs at those horrible recitations that every country singer of that era had in their repertoires. "Old Doc Brown's" punchline of which is "Doc Brown has moved upstairs" (get it? He went to heaven ...). My lunch almost "moved upstairs" hearing things like "What Is Father?" and "The Horse's Prayer" but in a good humor, these can leave you in stitches. Besides, they make up only a small part of the entire package. Snow shunned interviews for years, but his enthusiasm for the Bear Family packages led him to talk to annotator Charles Wolfe and provide the most detailed information he's ever provided on his career and these songs. And unlike most academics, whose writing is either incoherent or pompous, Wolfe makes it come alive. The selection of photos, memorabilia and old ads, many in color, is stunning. (RK)

HANK SNOW Bear Family BCD 15488 The Thesaurus Transcriptions ● CD $99.98
5 CD box set - with 36 page LP sized book with notes by Charles Wolfe, discography and rare photos.

HANK SNOW Bear Family BCD 15502 The Singing Ranger, Vol. 3 ● CD $259.98
Volume 3, one of Bear's biggest box sets ever, is a 327 song, 12 CD box compiling everything Snow recorded from 1958 through 1968 with a few later numbers thrown in to round out the thematic nature of certain discs, such as gospel from his 1975 live LP done with his son Jimmy Rodgers Snow and a couple Hawaiian and Christmas numbers. The few unissued Snow tracks that exist from this period (nearly everything he did was released by RCA). Among the better known Snow hits of the era were The Last Ride, Miller's Cave, Beggar to A King, I've Been Everywhere, The Man Who Robbed The Bank At Santa Fe, Ninety Miles An Hour (Down A Dead End Street) and The Wishing Well and Breakfast With the Blues. The LPs ranged from conventional Snow albums to a Christmas LP, guitar duets with his producer Chet Atkins, his Jimmie Rodgers tribute, the surprisingly good "Snow In Hawaii" and a 1962 followup duet LP with Anita Carter (and Mother Maybelle, Helen and June Carter singing on the chorus). Classic Snow LPs like "Songs of Tragedy", "Guitar Stylings of Hank Snow", "Christmas with Hank Snow", "Gloryland March", "Souvenirs", "Songs I Hadn't Recorded Till Now", and "Heartbreak Trail (A Tribute to the Sons of the Pioneers) were all done during this period. The booklet is the full color", loaded with photos. The notes by Charles Wolfe, as before, are based on new interviews with Hank discussing the various material on the set and a complete RCA sessionography. Nor is this the end. Bear's next Snow CD will focus on his complete 1936-1947 recordings for Canadian RCA, where he was a star before catching on in the Lower 48. (RK)

HANK SNOW Bear Family BCD 15587 The Yodelling Ranger ● CD $119.98
101 tracks, 5 hours, 34 min. essential Hank Snow was a star in his native Canada before anyone in the Lower 48 knew about him. Beginning with his first recording in 1936, this five CD, 101 song (four never issued) boxed set covers those first eleven years of his career, when billed as "Hank, the Yodelling Ranger," he became Canada's premiere singer. His early music was deeply influenced by Jimmie Rodgers (even rewriting some Rodgers numbers and adding his own lyrics). The Rodgers flavor remained even when he added bass and steel guitar, until The Blue Velvet Band brought him fame in 1938 and even beyond. Most of these recordings are Snow originals, custom tailored for his voice and phrasing. He sang depressing ballads of the era like There's A Pony That's Lonely Tonight (what's the pony lonely for? you guessed it--A dead kid!). Snow also covered a few established hits like Wiley and Gene's When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again. His 1944 recording of Blue Ranger remained a favorite for many years. Some of this material was issued in the states on two RCA budget LPs but most were only ever on 78s, along with alternate takes and four songs unissued until now. The booklet includes lyrics for 74 numbers and ample information about the early days based on Charles Wolfe's recent interviews with Snow. The 101 songs are on four discs. Disc Five is a reissue of the 1966 This Is My Story double LP of Hank telling his life story, plus 1950's demos of Marriage Vow and I Don't Hurt Anymore. (RK)

HANK SNOW Bear Family BCD 15787 The Singing Ranger, Vol. 4 ● CD $259.98
9 CD box set with book.

HANK SNOW Bear Family BCD 16661 Wanderin' On - The Best Of The Wandering Ranger ● CD $21.98
25 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
Hank Snow was a star in his native Canada before anyone in the Lower 48 knew about him recording prolifically for RCA there between 1936 and 1947. In 1993 Bear Family issued a five CD box set featuring all of those recordings and have now issued a 25 track condensation of that set for those that can't afford or don't need a box set worth. The earliest sides feature him solo or accompanied by Euegne Beaudoin on steel guitar and show the strong influence of Jimmie Rodgers though he eventually found his own voice. Later recordings add Teddy Miller on bass. Most of the songs are Snow originals including such fine sides as Blue Velvet Band/ Lonesome Blue Yodel/ The Hobo's Last Ride/ Wanderin' On and others. There are also a few covers like Wiley and Gene's When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again. His 1944 recording of Blue Ranger remained a favorite for many years. Sound quality is superb and the 20 page booklet includes notes by Charles Wolfe, a bunch of rare photos and discographical details. (FS)

HANK SNOW Jasmine 3522 Blues For My Blue Eyes ● CD $11.98
23 superb sides - You Nearly Lose Your Mind/ Trouble In Mind/ Never No Mo' Blues/ Too Many Tears/ I Almost Lost My Mind/ Blue Rose Of The Rio/ Wabash Blues/ My Blue Eyed jane/ Those Blue Eyes Don't Sparkle Any More/ Blue Christmas/ Blue Dreams/ Bye Bye Blues and more.

HANK SNOW Jasmine 3531 Down At The Rainbow's End ● CD $11.98
22 track collection of sides from the 50s.

HANK SNOW RCA 66931 The Essential Hank Snow ● CD $11.98
20 tracks - Rhumba Boogie/ I'm Movin' On/ The Golden Rocket/ Music Makin' Mama From Memphis/ I Don't Hurt Anymore/ The Gal Who Invented Kissin'/ Would You Mind/ Yellow Roses/ Beggar To A King/ Ninety Miles An Hour/ Let Me Go Lover/ Hello Love, etc.

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS B.A.C.M. 078 Western Harmony & Hot Swing, Vol. 1 ● CD $14.98
First of two albums presenting some of the 200 radio transcriptions made for the NBC Thesaurus Orthacoustic company in the early 40s. At this time the group included instrumentalists Hugh Farr/ fiddle and Karl farr/ guitar so in addition to the expected harmonies we also get some hot jazzy instrumental work. This volume has 32 tracks including Rise And Shine/ Riding The Rocky Range/ Cottage In The Clouds/ Sunset On The Trail/ Come And Get It/ Ridin' The Range With You, etc.
THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS: A Cowboy's Prayer/ Blue Mountain Sweetheart/ Boggy Road To Texas (Instr.)/ Bon Ton Schottische (Instr.)/ Cielito Lindo/ Cody Of The Pony Express/ Come And Get It/ Cottage In The Clouds/ Curly Joe From Idaho/ Get Along Pinto Pony/ Great Big Taters In The Sandy Land (Instr.)/ I Belong To The Range/ Lone Buckaroo/ Moonlight On The Trail/ No Good Son Of A Gun/ On The Rhythm Range/ Ridin' On The Sunshine Trail/ Ridin' The Range With You/ Riding The Rocky Range/ Rise And Shine/ Rocky Road In The Rockies/ Sally Goodin' (Instr.)/ She's The Lily Of Hillbilly Valley/ Sunset On The Trail/ The Quilting Party/ We Sat Beneath The Maple On The Hill/ What Wonderful Joy/ What You Gonna Say To Peter/ When A Cowboy Starts To Courtin'/ When The Prairie Sun Says Good Morning/ Where The Rio Rolls Along/ Wonder Valley

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS B.A.C.M. 079 Western Harmony & Hot Swing, Vol. 2 ● CD $14.98
32 more Orthacoustic transcriptions.
THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS: Blue Eyed Little Nell of Narraganset Bay/ Blue For You/ Climbing Up The Golden Stairs/ Close To Heaven/ Comin' Through The Korn (Instr.)/ Crawdad Hole/ Don't You Wish You Had Someone (Instr.)/ Dreamy Reverie (Instr.)/ Farr Into The Night/ Frankie And Johnnie (Instr.)/ Hill Country/ Hoppin' High (Instr.)/ I Ain't A-Worryin'/ I Love The Prairie Country/ Jim Jam Jiggin' (Instr.)/ Li'l Liza Jane/ Moonlight Melody/ More Fried Chicken, Uncle Joe? (Instr.)/ Shadows Of The Wildwood/ Silver Threads Among The Gold/ Someone Like You (Instr.)/ Sweet And Low/ The Capital Ship/ The Gypsy's Warning/ They Drew My Number/ Tom And Jerry (Instr.)/ Under The Willow She's Sleeping/ When They Ring Those Golden Bells/ When We Get Old And Grey/ Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight/ Whistle And Wait For Katy/ You Don't Love Me But I'll Always Care

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS Bear Family BCD 15640 Wagons West ● CD $85.98
4 CDs, 114 tracks 5 hr. 15 min. essential Some years ago Bear Family issued seven LPs worth of Pioneers material from RCA from 1945-1952 including all their RCA duets with various artists. Those LPs are still available, but Bear has redone the collection on Compact Disc with some reconfiguration. All but one of the duets were omitted, but the Pioneers' complete 1954 Coral recordings and some rediscovered unissued RCA tracks are here including Down Where the Rio Flows). The version of Cool Water is a remake, (their best-known version was on Decca) but the RCA version's arguably the better one from a musical standpoint. Otherwise, it encompasses all the Pioneers' RCA material, save a few lost masters. The biggest hits, Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima, No One to Cry To, Baby Doll Tear Drops in My Heart, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, My Best to You and Room Full of Roses are all included along with a booklet featuring a discography, rare photos and a fine history of the group's activities during these years penned by Western music historian Laurence Zwisohn. (RK)

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS Bear Family BCD 15710 Songs Of The Prairie - Standard Transcriptions, Part 1 ● CD $119.98
5 CD box set with book featuring 151 tracks recorded for Standard Radio in Los Angeles starting in 1934 and featuring the first line-up of Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and Hugh Farr. In addition to the 133 vocals cuts featuring their distinctive harmonies there are also 18 instrumental cuts featuring the jazzy fiddle and guitar of Hugh & Karl Farr with support from Roy Rogers.

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS Bear Family BCD 16104 Memories Of The Range - Standard Transcriptions Vol. 2 ● CD $85.98
4 CD set with 121 more of the Standard Transcriptions.

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS Jasmine 3528 Memories Of The "Lucky U" Ranch ● CD $11.98
31 tracks (including introductory conversations) by this popular group from their early 50s radio show "The Lucky U Ranch". The group at this time included Tommy Doss, Ken Curtis, Hugh & Karl Farr, Lloyd Perryman, Frank Messina and Shug Fisher

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS MCA MCAD 10090 The Country Music Hall Of Fame ● CD $10.98
The original, classic Pioneers recordings were made for Decca beginning in 1934 (they remained with Decca until 1943) with the original, classic group: Hugh and Karl Farr, Roy Rogers, Tim Spencer and Bob Nolan. Both of Nolan's most enduring composition, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" and "Away Out There" (both recorded at their first Decca session) are both included, and you can see why to this day they remain the definitive versions. The Farr Brothers' importance to the group as instrumentalist (Hugh on fiddle, Karl on guitar) is obvious as their complex, jazz- based accompaniments provided an interesting contrast to the tight harmonies. Also selected for this set were the equally awesome 1941 original version of Nolan's "Cool Water" along with "The Hills of Old Wyomin'," "Echoes from The Hills," Nolan's "One More Ride" and Tim Spencer's "When The Moon Comes Over The Valley." Novelties like "Private Buckaroo" crept in during the War, as did their version of the Gene Autry-Fred Rose-Ray Whitley ballad "I Hang My Head and Cry." Three unreleased numbers, "Rye Whiskey," Ken Carson's "Let Me Keep My Memories" and the mediocre pop-gospel tune "Somebody Bigger than You And I" from their 1954 Coral recordings round the package out, though the latter number is really a waste of time. Again, Charlie Seemann, the CMF's resident expert on singing cowboys, does fine annotations. (RK)

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS MCA Special Products 22091 Tumbling Tumbleweeds ● CD $7.98
10 tracks, 29 min., recommended In spite of the somewhat misleading cover art here, drawn from a 1940s Roy Rogers movie, these are actually 1930s Decca tracks by the original Sons ensemble, which, of course, featured Roy in his pre-cowboy days. There is significant overlap with the 1980 MCA Sons lp (#1563 - out of print), but within the digital world, this disc makes a nice companion to the longer MCA reissue of Decca Pioneers tracks (MCA 10090). Highlights here include the originals Tumbling Tumbleweeds and Cool Water, plus Blue Prairie, One More Ride/ Blue Bonnet Girl, and Over the Santa Fe Trail. Other than the mildly inappropriate cover art, the sound quality is fine and there are no notes at all. So what, buy it for the great music. (DH)

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS Varese Vintage 66439 The Essential Collection ● CD $19.98
Same as Soundies set issued about a year ago and now, apparently, withdrawn. Two CD set featuring 42 tracks by this great group in their prime in 1941 taken from radio transcriptions. Includes versions of many of their most famous songs as well as lots of lesser known titles. Includes When Payday Rolls Around/ Sagebrush Symphony/ Ridin' Home/ Cajon Stomp/ There's A Rainow Over The Range/ Trail Herdin' Cowboy/ He's Gone, He's Gone Up The Trail/ So Long To The Red River Valley/ The Howlin' Pup/ Blow, Wind, Blow/ Following The Sun All Star/ Happy Cowboy/ Tumbleweed Trail/ Down Along The Sleepy Rio Grande and lots more.


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