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Gene Autry: Blues Singer, 1929-1931
Gene Autry
Gene Autry: Blues Singer, 1929-1931
Genres: Country, Blues, Pop
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1

These 23 blue yodels show us that, at first, Autry bore much more similarity to the Singing Brakeman--Jimmie Rodgers--than to the Singing Cowboy that Autry became and that propelled him to stardom. In fact, it would not be...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Gene Autry
Title: Gene Autry: Blues Singer, 1929-1931
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 10/8/1996
Release Date: 10/8/1996
Genres: Country, Blues, Pop
Styles: Cowboy, Classic Country, Traditional Blues
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 074646498729

These 23 blue yodels show us that, at first, Autry bore much more similarity to the Singing Brakeman--Jimmie Rodgers--than to the Singing Cowboy that Autry became and that propelled him to stardom. In fact, it would not be out of line to call him a Rodgers imitator: His label, American Record Company (soon to be Columbia), specifically employed him as a direct alternative to Rodgers, and even sold his records at a third of the price of Victor's Rodgers recordings. If that's not enough, Autry covered a healthy handful of Rodgers's most famous cuts. Nevertheless, Autry displays a natural, appealing comfort with the blues idiom, especially with his sharp yodels, and his originals hold their own next to Rodgers's classics. Eventually, Autry's music would make its mark by helping people forget their Depression-era blues; he waxed "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine," a cowboy ballad well outside the blues paradigm, at the tail end of these sessions (but not included here), and it would become his first huge hit. This collection proves, if nothing else, that Autry's talent was boundless and that his voice was infinitely charismatic in any setting. --Marc Greilsamer

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CD Reviews

James Otterstrom | Big Bear City, CA United States | 08/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I just love this CD, here he is, the squeaky-clean idol of Hollywood's 'Singing' Cowboys', yodeling about booze, women, and jail. Blues and folk music is fundamental to what eventually became the cowboy, western, and country genres, and Gene demonstrates here that prior to his 'Cowboy' fame, he had a solid grip on the blues. He emulates the style of blues legend Jimmie Rodgers, but each track, including the 10 original compositions, is genuinely convincing. Gene's voice & timing are wonderful, and his playing competent, especially when backed up by Roy Smeck's banjo or delicious steel guitar. Before I heard this recording I felt that Gene's major contribution to music was 'Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer' and a bunch of movieland hokum, but, as with 'Roy Rogers' early 'Sons Of The Pioneers' recordings (pre 1938), I have come to find that these cowboy-era musicians were at their best before Hollywood re-fabricated them. If you are a fan of Gene Autry 'The Cowboy', this CD will surprise you, if you're not it may surprise you even more, and if you're a fan of Jimmie Rodgers, this is definitely your stuff."
White hat, great blues
Wayne Engle | Madison, IN United States | 12/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When it came to singing, you name it and Ole' Gene could do it. He shows that in this wonderful collection of old blues sides, a la Jimmie Rodgers (but Gene does them a little better, I think). Notice how he adds just enough "black" accent when he sings these to sound bluesy, but doesn't overdo it by continually saying "Lawd! Lawd!" or such other blues-type exclamations. His voice was still definitely a tenor at this young age, and hadn't deepened yet into the rich baritone most people remember. Wonder what those blues would have sounded like sung by a more mature Gene Autry? This is one of those gems you don't find without some digging, but it's definitely worth it."
Quite a surprise, and very good.
Wayne Engle | 09/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Most artists start by copying their heroes before developing their own style: the Beatles ripped off countless Chuck Berry licks, Bob Dylan wrote and sang like Woody Guthrie, early Sinatra tried to sound like Bing Crosby, and Gene Autry did his own version of Jimmie Rodgers. In fact he's just a bit better, having been endowed with a better set of pipes. Heresy, I know, but there it is.It's surprising to hear Autry singing about T.B., murder, and infidelity if you know the slightly corny pop singer he latter became. I prefer this Autry to that one.I reccommend this to fans of either Gene Autry or the music of Jimmie Rodgers."