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Cowboy Music

June 2024
1min read

Songs of the West

by various artists, Rhino Records 71263, four CDs

This is not music of the West of American history or of the West today; it is music of the West of pure unashamed imagination, of Gary Cooper at high noon, of “Bonanza,” and of Marlboro cigarettes. Disc One, “Cowboy Classics,” offers eighteen tunes like “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” by Patsy Montana. Most of them were written on Tin Pan Alley, of course. Disc Two, “Silver Screen Cowboys,” gives us the singing stars of the screen West, among them Tex Ritter, Slim Pickens, and Rex Alien. Disc Three zeros in on Gene Autry and Roy Rogers; Disc Four finally gets to the most iconic Western music of all, Western themes from television and movies. They’re all here: “The Magnificent Seven” (a.k.a. the Marlboro theme), “Gunsmoke,” “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” “Rawhide,” and more. By the time you get to Roy Rogers singing “Don’t Fence Me In” you may agree with Cole Porter’s lyric: “I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences / gaze at the moon till I lose my senses …”

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