- GENE AUTRY: THE ESSENTIAL GENE AUTRY: 2005: COUNTRY AND WESTERN: GRADE: A: APPLE: 40 songs on 2 discs covering the singing career of Gene Autry. I was never a big fan of cowboy movies or shows growing up- I am sure I saw an Autry movie or two on television but until recently my knowledge about Autry was- he was a movie cowboy, sang “Back In The Saddle Again” and “Rudolph” and was the owner of the California Angels for decades- and was a very rich man. I didn’t realize that he was a pioneering figure in the history of country music. He recorded over 600 songs in his career- writing around 200 of them. Ringo Starr has said that the biggest musical influence on his life- was Gene Autry. This is an excellent overview of his career. While I listened to everything Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family recorded- I am going to let The Essential Gene Autry stand as my Gene Autry listening for now. “Back In The Saddle Again”, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, “South Of The Border.” “The Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine”, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” and “Red River Valley” among my favorites here.
- BOB WILLS AND HIS TEXAS PLAYBOYS:COUNTRY, WESTERN SWING :THE ESSENTIAL BOB WILLS AND HIS TEXAS PLAYBOYS: GRADE: A+: APPLE: 2 discs 40 songs. I had heard Wills music years ago- but not a lot of it. This is a great overview- and it leaves me wanting to hear more. Will write more on Wills tomorrow as I listen to more Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys. Fun listen. It is easy to see how he inspired such artists as Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and countless others.