Randall G. Arnold | North Texas | 08/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I personally owe Rex Allen Jr for one thing: he singlehandedly drew me in to loving Western music. I'd had the stereotypical view of the genre until being "ambushed" by Rex's penchant for including at least one true Western cut on each album, as well as peppering other mainstream songs with that smooth Western flavor.That said, I may just be a bit biased in reviewing his work. But it's hard not to like this collection, since it covers such a broad spectrum of styles as it samples various points along Rex's career.To make it easy on the neophyte, this compendium is arranged chronologically, beginning with "The Great Mail Robbery", a paen to a simpler, (dare I say) more naive time. Listening to Timmy try to rob the mail makes me yearn for that "innocent" yesteryear. "Goodbye" is from the same original album and exhibits a somwhat sparse arrangement that emphasizes Rex's rich, pleasing baritone as well as a splendid vocal accompaniment. This haunting tale of lost love still touches me years after first hearing it. Few other artists could have done it justice; even the late great Eddy Arnold's attempt was just too breezy."Two Less Lonely People" was from his self-titled album that explored more of the artist's own personal feelings. This simple-yet-optimistic little ditty begs to be rewound and played again and again. "I'm Getting Good at Missing You" is an oxymoron among Country recordings (not unusual for Rex): an uptempo sad song. It's a great one to sing along with. "Don't Say Goodbye" is an almost rocking plea, but I miss the mix that was on Rex's original "Best of Rex" album; the guitar work was more compelling. Still one of my personal favorites, though.What can I say about "Lonely Street"? Even though previously recorded by Andy Williams, Rex made this one his own. He just flat stole it. From the high, plaintive opening to the deep, resonant end, he nails it like nobody else can (hearing it live is even better).Rex moved into a new production sound with the album "Brand New". The lead vocals were crisp, the arrangments lush (but not overly so), the backing vocals tight. "No No No" was a big hit for him, and the song that made me take note of Rex in the first place. It's another one of those punchy sad songs that's very infectious. From the same album, "With Love" is a tribute to every mother and what they go through to make us adoring dads. The sweeping strings and soaring vocals are a real treat."Drink It Down Lady" is from the incredibly well-done "Oklahoma Rose" album (an unsung masterpiece), although this is a better, peppier remix. I was surprised to hear Rex do this one originally but now it just seems right. I have to play it loud, and often! Also on that release was "It's Over", yet another uptempo lamentation that's become a signature for Rex! The style was unusual for him at the time (fairly hard country) but his voice suits it perfectly. Sadly missing is "Yippi Cry Yi", a soulful original western that should have been a much bigger hit than it was and definitely needed to be on this disc.Other albums are not represented here, so we miss out on the breathtakingly beautiful "Me and My Broken heart", penned by Rex's brother Curt if I recall correctly. Same for "If I Fell in Love With You", "Cup of Tea", "Arizona" (another soul-stirring western and now the state song) and some from his one all-western album, "The Singing Cowboy". Perhaps there are valid reasons those were omitted, but we are all the poorer that the bulk of Rex's music is unavailable on CD. Warner Brothers, are you listening?Rex, thank you."
Excellent, but two unforgiveable omissions
80s Music Fiend | Georgia | 07/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A nice, but all-too-brief overview of Rex's career. At 10 tracks, it falls far short in covering Rex's time on the country charts. The Top-10 hit "Me and My Broken Heart," arguably one of his finest performances, is missing. There's no excuse for that. Another oversight is the lovely and sentimental "Cup of Tea," his 1981 Top-20 duet with Margo Smith.
Given the fact that this is the only Rex compilation on the market, I'm grateful it exists. But Warner Brothers is notoriously stingy with its catalog. Let's hope one of the reissue labels gets hold of the master recordings and gives us the compilation that we (and Rex!) deserve."
Remembered by us over 40.
M. Rogers | Midwest | 07/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chances are if you're under 45 you don't know who Rex Allen, Jr. is. But if you enjoy the clean & well arranged country of the 70's and 80's then you'll appreciate everything on this album. The more I listen to these tracks the more satisfied I get. In the 21st century, country became guitar driven rock. If you want to go back to the days of the Little Cheyenne Ranch and Buck Lake Ranch, then this will surely please you. Five Stars!"