James Otterstrom | Big Bear City, CA United States | 08/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're looking for basic down to earth versions of the Pioneers most popular songs this CD is for you. A delightful simplicity in the playing here breathes fresh life into songs we might have heard too many times. 'I'm An Old Cowhand' with Roy on lead vocal and fine fiddling by Hugh Farr, interestingly enough, has a 'One More Ride' style yodel harmony at the end, and is that Lloyd Perryman or Pat Brady slappin' that bass? Great Stuff! For a Pioneer nut like myself the spartan 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds' on this CD is worth the price of admission, and the haunting eerie mood of 'Blue Prairie' couldn't be improved upon. 'A Melody From The Sky' and 'Blue Bonnet Girl' are both tender and masterful, while the plaintive 'Empty Saddles' never sounded better. 'Over The Santa Fe Trail' is the anomaly here, it almost sounds like an experiment in weirdness, but the strange phrasing and off-key sound make it something of a conversation piece, I'm wondering if the recording might be off-speed. I think 'Cool Water' is one of the best songs ever written, maybe the definitive example of Bob Nolan's poetic genius, and this take is very nice, although I think I slightly prefer the version on 'The RCA Victor Years Vol. 1' (RCA CD (9744-2). According to an old friend of Bob Nolan's, 'Cool Water' was written by Bob back in the '30s, while he and his mule 'Dan' were walking the Mojave Desert on a trek from his cabin here in Big Bear. That story gives a wonderful vignette of Bob talking to his mule ("Keep'a movin' Dan, don't you listen to him Dan, he's a devil not a man, and he spreads the burnin' sand with water. Dan can you see that big green tree, where the water's runnin' free, and it's waitin' there for me and you."), as they trudged toward the cool wet shade of the Mojave Narrows almost 70 years ago. Because MCA chose not to include any notes with this release, the oddness of 'Santa Fe Trail', and somewhat uneven sound quality, I considered giving it a 4-star rating, but after many listenings, the overall content, and the sweet rarity of these selected versions begged 5 stars. A very nice collection!"
James Otterstrom | 02/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the other customer reviews: this is a treaure-trove of early Roy Rogers and Sons of the Pioneers. I usually complain about more modern versions with their slick and overly lush accompaniment. No such complaints here! "Sparse" is the word that comes to mind for this disc--basically a fiddle, a guitar or two, and a stand-up bass. The version of Tumbling Tumbleweeds is different from the other versions I have by this group. I disagree with the one reviewer about Along the Santa Fe Trail. I didn't find it that bad, but I am convinced that the fiddle player was on a different page from everyone else. Probably not the best "starter" disc for this sub-subgenre (I'd recommend the Country Music Hall of Fame disc), but it's a pretty good supplement. Recommended to all aficionados."
Good music, awful sound
Yvonne Smith | Apple Valley, CA United States | 08/30/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"One of the benefits of CD is that the background pops and hiss of vinal can be eliminated. However, nobody bothered to do that before releasing this CD. On some cuts the background hiss is so bad it is difficult to hear the music. The music is great, the sound quality is awful. Spend your money elsewhere."
Great supplemental Sons CD
Yvonne Smith | 02/08/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It would probably be best to start with the three other available domestic releases (see the What Other Customers Bought section above), but this is still an excellent collection. Three of the tracks are duplicated elsewhere--namely, Old Cowhand on the Roy Rogers Country Music Hall of Fame disc, and Cool Water and One More Ride on the Sons Hall of Fame disc--but the rest are nice to have. The version of Tumbling Tumbleweeds presented here is particularly interesting, and Blue Prairie *is* a haunting tune. Sound quality is a bit wonky, but that's to be expected and tends to add to the charm."
pulia | Chicago USA | 03/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is great music, but there is a lot of white noise on the disc."