Music Reviews

The Sons of the Pioneers

Ultimate Collection

Hip-O

Wow.

Look, you probably have no love for old corny country music, but this stuff is so much fun and so well-done that you’d better re-think that position. The Sons are legendary: this was the group that Roy Rogers (then still known as Leonard Slye) formed with Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer back in the early 1930s, and this disc collects 21 songs they recorded from 1934 to 1954. These songs are old-fashioned and western, but in the best of ways; one listen to the opening three-part yodel “Way Out There” and their theme song, the chromatically wild “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” and even the hardest rocker and the hippest hip-hopper will be like all, “Damn!”

This group was tight – their harmonies were impeccable at any speed – and their songwriting was original and surprising. Listen again to Bob Nolan’s “Cool Water,” which now sounds really freakin’ spooky; listen for the first time to Tim Spencer’s “Ride, Ranger, Ride,” a song written for the bad-ass Texas Rangers (NOT the pathetic baseball team) and feel the momentum that a country swing waltz can inspire; check out the one Roy Rogers-penned song here, “My Saddle Pals and I,” which shows that he should have written more songs and done fewer crappy cowboy movies. This is really great stuff!

And even if you hate country music, you really should have a version of “Riders in the Sky” in your collection. This is an easy and nutritious way to fulfill your USRDA of that.

Hip-O Records: http://www.hip-o.com


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