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Porter Wagoner -> Don Walser


PORTER WAGONER Bear Family BCD 15499 The Thin Man From West Plains: RCA Sessions 1952-62 ● CD $94.98
4 CDs, 112 tracks, approx. 4 hr. 33 min. recommended
Looking objectively at Porter's first RCA recordings from 1952-1953, one can only marvel at how derivative of Hank Williams he was. Songs like Trinidad weren't even very good in 1953. Luckily, Porter found his own voice with Company's Comin' and particularly A Satisfied Mind, which sound good even today. From 1954 on, the musical proceedings took a dramatic upturn as he created his own proudly hillbilly style, that even Chet Atkins' Nashville Sound alterations couldn't overwhelm. The early hits are here, among them Eat, Drink and Be Merry (Tomorrow You'll Cry), the immortal What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House), Uncle Pen/ Tryin' To Forget the Blues/ Your Old Love Letters/ Misery Loves Company/ Cold Dark Waters and I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand. The booklet is loaded with old photos, ads and information from annotator Dale Vinicur, whose research features occasional gaffes, but does the job. (RK)

PORTER WAGONER Jasmine 3507 A Rare Slice Of Country ● CD $11.98
22 tracks, 57 mins, highly recommended
A fine collection of 22 sides by this excellent honky tonk singer. The first 10 tracks features some of Porter's very earliest sides, presumably from the early 50s, finding Porter strongly under the influence of Hank Williams and Left Frizzell but also showing his originality on songs like River Of Love and I Betcha My Heart, I Love You. The rest of the tracks are from mid 50s radio shows, usually hosted by Red Foley. There are fine versions of some of his hits like Satisfied Mind/ Eat, Drink, And Be Merry (Tomorrow You'll Cry)/ I Thought I Heard You Call My Name and others as well as fine non hits like Be Glad That You Ain't Me/ Love At First Sight, two versions of If You Don't, Somebody Else Will - one a duet with Foley and a fine gospel song Good Morning Neighbour with a trio vocal. There are several comedy interludes which are more entertaining than usual - lots of jokes at the expense of Porter's slender frame. Excellent sound.

PORTER WAGONER & THE BLACKWOOD BROTHERS King 5108 The Grand Old Gospel ● CD $8.98
12 tracks, 33 mins, recommended Reissue of 1966 RCA album. A fine collection of country gospel featuring the fine lead vocals of Porter accompanied by the pleasing harmonies of The Blackwwod Brothers - When I Reach That City/ The Family Who Prays (Never Shall Part)/ If We never Meet Again/ Trouble In The Amen Corner/ I See A Bridge/ A House Of Gold+6.

JIMMY WAKELY Bronco Buster 9032 Great Hillbilly & Western/ Swing Rarities ● CD $18.98
This album of 20 rare tunes will be a welcome addition to any Western collection. Four feature "Fiddlin" Arthur Smith, who appeared in numerous Wakely films. These fit the "hillbilly" category suggested in the album's title. A fifth, I Miss You Since You've Been Gone, was performed by Wakely on the screen but, unfortunately, Smith does the vocal here. But the rest makes this a highly desirable album. The Sunshine Gals, who also appeared in Wakely films, do a couple of songs, and Wakely's smooth vocals are featured on the remaining tracks. The supporting musicians are not identified, but the sound is much like that of the groups that backed Jimmy in films. Titles include I Hear You Talkin'/ Neath The Purple On The Hill/ Too Bad Little Girl, Too Bad/ The Old Spinning Wheel/ There's An Empty Cot In the Bunkhouse/ In A Little House On The Hill and When It's Night Time In Nevada, among others. Fidelity is not perfect, but that doesn't interfere with enjoyment of the music. Highly recommended. (OJS)
JIMMY WAKELY: 'neath the Purple on the Hill/ Cimarron (Roll On) (Voc.: the Sunshine Girls)/ Crazy Blues (Vocal: Arthur Smith)/ Fort Worth Jail (Voc.: Sunshine Girls)/ I Hear You Talkin'/ I Miss You since You've Been Gone (Voc.: with Arthur Smith)/ I Wonder Where You Are Tonight (Voc. Sunshine Girls)/ I'll Be Faithful/ Iin a Little House on the Hill/ Is this a Dream/ Orange Blossom Special (Vocal with Arthur Smith)/ Take Me Back to Tennessee (Voc. With Arthur Smith)/ The Honey Song (Honey, I'm in Love with You)/ The Old Spinning Wheel/ There's an Empty Cot in the Bunkhouse Tonight./ Too Bad Little Girl Too Bad/ When It's Night Time in Nevada/ Why Should I Wonder (Voc.: with Arthur Smith)/ You Still Belong to Me/ this Night Is Mine

JIMMY WAKELY Cattle 284 Plus Movie Friends ● CD $18.98
22 tracks from the 40s and early 50s - often with orchestral accompaniment and featuring appearances by Pat Buttram, Bob Hope and others.
JIMMY WAKELY: A Four Legged Friend/ Bandera Waltz/ Cryin' Just For You/ Did You Write A Letter To Your Sweetheart/ Don't Be Lonely./ Home Town Rag/ I Hear You Talkin'/ I Like The Wide Open Spaces/ I Went To Your Wedding/ I'll Never Do A Thing To Hurt You/ I've Got Nuggets In My Pockets/ Lorelei/ Music By The Angels (lyrics By The Lord)/ Old Soldiers Never Die (they Just Fade Away)/ Pale Moon/ Pot O' Gold/ Rainbow At Midnight/ There's A Cloud In My Valley Of Sunshine/ There's That Same Old Lovelight In Your Eyes/ Under The Anheuser Bush/ When I Say Good Night/ When It's Harvest Time, Sweet Angeline

JIMMY WAKELY Cattle 285 The Early Classic Recordings ● CD $18.98
22 tracks recorded between 1946 and 1951.
JIMMY WAKELY: Another Fool Steps In/ Are You Ashamed/ Blue Bonnet Blues/ Christmas Polka./ Everyone Knew It But Me/ For The Sake Of Days Gone By/ I Don't Care/ I Don't Want Your Sympathy/ I'm Gonna Marry Mary/ If Santa Claus Could Bring You Back To Me/ Moon Over Montana/ On The Strings Of My Lonesome Guitar/ Silent Night/ Somebody's Rose/ Sweethearts On Parade/ Tellin' My Troubles To My Old Guitar/ The First Nowell (the First Noel)/ Too Many Sweethearts/ Try To Understand/ When A Speck In The Sky Is A Bluebird/ Where The Moon Plays Peekaboo/ You're The Sweetest Rose In Texas

JIMMY WAKELY Jasmine 3543 From Cowboy To Country ● CD $11.98
24 track collection featuring Jimmy as both western singer and mainstream country. Includes two duets with Margaret Whiting. Tracks include Between The Lines/ Oklahoma Hills/ Walking The Sidewalks Of Shame/ Wedding Bells/ I Love You So Much It Hurts/ Roll Along Kentucky Moon/ I Wish I Had A Nickel/ Cimarron (Roll On)/ I Wantta Ride That Gospel Train/ I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes/ Tenting Tonight On The Old Camp Ground, etc.

BILLY WALKER Bear Family BCD 15657 Cross The Brazos At Waco ● CD $145.98
6 CD's, 157 songs, approximately 7 hrs. recommended
Texan Billy Walker had some good years on the charts but hasn't had much notice on the reissue front. Walker oldies like Cross the Brazos At Waco and the honkytonk number Charlie's Shoes remain minor favorites today. Hank Thompson got him onto Capitol in 1949 and he signed with Columbia in '51. Even then it took three years until Thank You For Calling propelled him into the Top Ten. The focus here is the first 15 years of his career from the first Capitol session until his last Columbia session in 1965. Walker stuck to honkytonk and all these records. A falling-out out with Capitol exec Dee Kilpatrick described in Colin Escott's notes ended that association and Dallas studio owner Jim Beck brought him to Columbia's attention. The material speaks for itself, but among the curiosities are a 1952 session backed by Leon McAuliffe's Western Swing Band and a 1957 date at producer Norman Petty's New Mexico studios. Walker shared his session time with Buddy Holly, and members of Holly's band the Crickets even backed Billy. Along with Claude Gray, Walker was among the first to record Willie Nelson songs, having covered Nelson's The Storm Within My Heart in 1959. In 1961 Walker was the first to record Funny How Time Slips Away, all part of this set. The booklet is typical Bear Family: Colin Escott's notes were based on new interviews with Walker, and rare photos, advertisements and posters covering all the same period as the music. Many fans might not want this much Walker, but for those who do, it's definitive. (RK)

CHARLIE WALKER Bear Family BCD 15852 Pick Me Up On Your Way ● CD $113.98
5 CD box set with 40 page book documenting the career of this fine and underrated artist starting with his earliest recordings cut for Imperial in 1952 to his classic Columbia and Epic sides.

JERRY JEFF WALKER MCA 919 Viva Terlingua ● CD $11.98

JERRY JEFF WALKER Rhino 71518 Mr. Bojangles ● CD $11.98

JERRY JEFF WALKER Vanguard 73124 Driftin' Way Of Life ● CD $13.98

JERRY JEFF WALKER Vanguard 79532 Best Of The Vanguard Years ● CD $15.98


DOUG & JACK WALLIN Smithsonian Folkways 40013 Family Songs & Stories From The North Carolina Mountain ● CD $14.98

DON WALSER Texas Music Group 4502 Rolling Stone From Texas ● CD $13.98
12 Tracks, 39 min., recommended. Originally on Watermelon. Heart songs, cowboy songs, a couple of Western Swing tunes and a Tex-Mex border song... Don Walser is doing his part to keep traditional country music alive and vibrant with both his choice of music and his booming voice, not to mention his yodeling. Walser wrote or co-wrote five songs and the covers include Marty Robbins Don't Worry 'bout Me, Ernie Ford's Shotgun Boogie. Jimmie Rodger's California Blues and Willie Nelson's Three Days. Stellar musicians including Cindy Cashdollar, Ray Benson, Johnny Gimble and Floyd Domino support Walser. My only criticism is that some times the CD almost sounds too polished, I wish it could have been a little more ragged. But it's pretty difficult not to smile when you're listening to Walser belt these songs out. He's got a great voice and his love of the music can be heard in his singing. (RS)

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