CD Wagons West [Box] [Box] [5 discs] (CD 1234455),
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Wagons West [Box] [Box] [5 discs]

  • 0. DISC 1:
    1. Forgive and Forget
    2. Cool Water
    3. Timber Trail, The
    4. Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima
    5. You're Getting Tired of Me
    6. Gold Star Mother With Silvery Hair
    7. You'll Be Sorry When I'm Gone
    8. I Wear Your Memory in My Heart
    9. Cowboy Camp Meetin'
    10. Tumbling Tumbleweeds
    11. Out California Way
    12. Grievin' My Heart Out For You
    13. No One to Cry To
    14. Everlasting Hills of Oklahoma, The
    15. Chant of the Wanderer
    16. Blue Prarie
    17. Trees
    18. Letter Marked Unclaimed, The
    19. Baby Doll
    20. Penny For Your Thoughts, A
    21. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
    22. Let's Pretend
    23. Cigareetes, Whusky and Wild Women
    24. Teardrops in My Heart
    25. My Best to You
    26. Will There Be Sagebrush in Heaven
    27. You Don't Know What Lonesome Is
    0. DISC 2:
    1. You Never Miss the Water til the Well Runs Dry
    2. Lead Me Gently Home Father
    3. Too High, Too Wide, Too Low
    4. Out in Pioneertown
    5. Hundred and Sixty Acres, A
    6. Sea Walker, The
    7. Read the Bible Every Day
    8. Last Round-Up, The
    9. Two Eyes, Two Lips But No Heart
    10. Cowboy Country
    11. Bar-None Ranch, The (In the Sky)
    12. Where Are You
    13. Calico Apron and a Gingham Gown
    14. Happy Birthday Polka
    15. Let Me Share Your Name
    16. Wind
    17. Whiffenpoof Song, The
    18. Old Rugged Cross, The
    19. Power in the Blood
    20. Touch of God's Hand, The
    21. Rounded up in Glory
    22. Santa Fe, New Mexico
    23. Down Where the Rio Flows - (take 1)
    24. Down Where the Rio Flows - (take 2)
    25. My Feet Takes Me Away
    26. Red River Valley
    27. Serenade to a Coyote
    28. Missouri Is a Devil of a Woman, The
    29. No Rodeo Dough
    0. DISC 3:
    1. Sentimental, Worried and Blue
    2. Little Gray Home in the West
    3. I Still Do
    4. Riders in the Sky
    5. Room Full of Roses
    6. No One Here But You
    7. Lie Low Little Dogies (The Cowboy's Prayer)
    8. Let's Go West Again
    9. Wind
    10. Love at the County Fair
    11. Wedding Dolls (From Your Wedding Cake)
    12. Outlaws
    13. Roses
    14. Eagle's Heart, The
    15. Land Beyond the Sun
    16. I Told Them All About You
    17. Wagons West
    18. Rollin' Dust
    19. Song of the Wagon Master
    20. Chuckawalla Swing
    21. Old Man Atom
    22. What This Country Needs
    23. Baby, I Ain't Gonna Cry No More
    24. Little White Cross
    25. America Forever
    26. Daddy's Little Cowboy
    27. Baby, I Ain't Gonna Cry No More
    28. Moonlight and Roses (Bring Mem'ries of You)
    0. DISC 4:
    1. San Antonio Rose
    2. Bring Your Roses to Her Now
    3. Mexicali Rose
    4. Lonesome
    5. Wondrous Word, The
    6. Resurrectus
    7. Wind
    8. Waltz of the Roses
    9. Lord's Prayer, The
    10. Heart Break Hill
    11. Ho le O
    12. I Still Do
    13. Waltz of the Roses
    14. I Still Do
    15. Outlaw
    16. Diesel Smoke - (take 1)
    17. Almost
    18. Diesel Smoke - (take 2)
    19. Empty Saddles
    20. There's a Gold Mine in the Sky
    21. Old Pioneer
    22. Home on the Range
    23. If You Would Only Be Mine
    24. Sierra Nevada
    25. River of No Return, The
    26. Lilies Grow High, The
    27. Lonely Little Room
    28. Montana
    29. Somebody Bigger Than You and I
    30. Mystery of His Way, The
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 15640

  • Credits

    Wagons West is a deceptively fine account of the Sons of the Pioneers' music, from what were not only their years of greatest popularity -- 1945 through 1954 -- but also the period in which they started to make full use of recording technology. From 1935 onward, when the Farr brothers came aboard, the group could always function as a self-contained unit, and their 1930s recordings and radio transcriptions are in a class by themselves in that regard; what you heard on the records was what you got in concert. But after signing to RCA in 1945, the group -- by now a sextet, including founders Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer -- availed itself of a range of session players who included guitarist Perry Botkin, steel guitarist Charles Richard Roberts, bassist (and future official group member) Deuce Spriggins, and Rex Dalton Call on violin, to augment Hugh Farr's fiddle and Karl Farr's guitar on tracks like "The Timber Trail" and "Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima" (the latter a topical number that works as a Western tune). And for their next session in January of 1946, they added piano and drums to their studio complement for songs like "You're Getting Tired of Me" and "You'll Be Sorry When I'm Gone" (both authored by Fred Rose). These sides and the ones that followed made concessions to popular taste that, in a way, anticipated the development of the "countrypolitan" sound in Nashville (though the Pioneers recorded in Hollywood or Chicago), but never lost sight of the group's core sound. What's more, the latter was better than ever -- from March of 1946 onward, Lloyd Perryman, who was an essential part of the Pioneers' classic prewar lineup, was back in the fold, and they were at greater than full strength with Nolan, Spencer, the Farrs, Ken Carson, and Shug Fisher (or Pat Brady) making them a septet. Thus, the version of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" here, from March 1946, may not have the lean, stripped-down beauty of the group's classic 1930s recording, but it has a surprisingly tasteful, ornate beauty, even with three violinists working behind Hugh Farr, and the presence of a saxophone on "Out California Way" doesn't hurt a bit, on a cut that's as much Western swing (complete with a bluesy Karl Farr acoustic guitar solo) as it is cowboy music. Plus, anyone who wants more of Farr's solo work need only wait for the delightful break on "Grievin' My Heart Out for You," the next song up from the same session, which also spotlights Hugh's fiddle.
    The 115 songs are far more diverse than the box's title or the group's image would lead one to expect, comprised in equal parts of traditional country, gospel, cowboy songs, topical songs (including the controversial "Old Man Atom"), movie songs (most notably from John Ford's Wagon Master), and elements of swing and blues, all sung in multi-part harmonies and no two songs alike enough to let a listener anticipate the breaks and solos. They occasionally go over the line into pop music, but the group never gets lost, even on "Baby, I Ain't Gonna Cry No More," with its 30-man backing orchestra. Some of the most interesting material here is also some of the most improbable, such as the gospel/topical "What This Country Needs," which incorporates some solid country blues elements within its quasi-"political" sermon. And it ought to be reassuring to potential purchasers that the sound quality is consistent throughout; the whole set sounds very good, and there's no huge jump up in quality from the 1945-1947 sides, which were recorded on wax masters before magnetic tape became available, and those from 1948-1952, dating from after the advent of tape recording. It's all in excellent condition on the listening end, and oddly enough, there are signs of more minor distortion repaired in some of the later sides. The set is topped off with a handsomely illustrated booklet typical of Bear Family's output, which gives complete session and release information on every song and covers the Sons of the Pioneers' complete history, from before the beginning into the last of the sessions represented here, and beyond. In addition to their RCA sides, the set encompasses their return to the Coral Records label in 1954, which yielded, among other songs, "River of No Return," from the Marilyn Monroe/Robert Mitchum movie of that name. ~ Bruce Eder

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