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Gene Autry - That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine [Box Set] (2006)

26-06-2014, 11:51
Music | Folk | Country | Discography | Oldies | FLAC / APE

Gene Autry - That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine [Box Set] (2006)

Artist: Gene Autry
Title Of Album: That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine
Year Of Release: 2006
Label: Bear Family / BCD15944-IL
Genre: Traditional Country
Total Time: 10:58:52
Format: Mp3 / FLAC (tracks +.cue, log-file)
Quality: CBR 320 kbps / Lossless
Total Size: 1.53 gb / 1.84 gb (Artwork-150 mb)

Very few know that America's "Singing Cowboy" began his career as the writer & performer of authentic white country blues. While working as a telegrapher for the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad (the Frisco Line), he used a railroad pass to travel to New York in 1929, hoping to follow his dream of competing with the top pop singers of the day. Instead, on the advice of Frankie and Johnny Marvin and legendary producer Arthur Satherley, Autry used his talent to emulate Jimmie Rodgers, which he did expertly. As he recorded more, he developed his own style. Bear Family brings together 225 songs on 9cds, all of the surviving recordings from 1929-1933 for the first time ever. Most of these songs have never been on CD and many have not been available in any form since their original release 75 years ago, including more than 20 songs issued for the first time. The hardcover book has an essay by Packy Smith, a discography by Tony Russell and many rare pictures and illustrations.

Review by Bruce Eder
This nine-CD set is a lot more Gene Autry than any casual fan would want to hear, but it is not without its considerable rewards and surprises, and might well convert casual fans into serious listeners. All of Autry's surviving recordings, more than 200 of them, from October of 1929 until November of 1933, are included, and comprise a vast range of sounds and styles. What you get is a good, close musical look at Autry's early evolution from a Jimmie Rodgers admirer and soundalike artist with a serious bent toward blues into the unique figure that Autry ultimately became as a country & western singer; the evolution of his sound from raw, relatively unskilled recording -- almost like field recordings -- to the beginning of a sophisticated studio sound; and of his accompaniment, from his own guitar and perhaps a partner and collaborator to backing by a relatively smooth professional coterie of players.

The first set opens with a pair of hillbilly-style ballads, "My Dreaming of You" and "My Alabama Home," cut by Autry with his mentor Jimmy Long (with Frankie Marvin providing the yodel accompaniment) in October of 1929 for Victor, which sound amazingly good and offer some surprisingly complex playing on the guitar behind the harmony singing. A little later in the month, Autry was back in the studio solo cutting a mix of ballads and blues numbers that showed up very briefly on the QRS label before it disappeared. These sides, which feature him yodeling as well, represent the more familiar side of Autry's music, and there are little surprises throughout, such as his superb, extended guitar break on "My Oklahoma Home." "I'll Be Thinking of You Little Girl" is a yodel ballad with another excellent performance by Autry on guitar, backed by an uncredited steel player. These sides haven't held up nearly as well in terms of sources as the material off of the major labels represented in Autry's early output, but they are listenable despite some considerable noise, and the producers have done a great job of making them accessible to modern ears -- the notable exception on this disc is the Autry original "Yodelin' Gene," which apparently only exists in a source with serious gauges; it's been cleaned up as much as possible but still suffers from some speed variations. The next track, though, Autry's rendition of "Blue Yodel No. 5," more than makes up for those sonic deficiencies; there's still noise, but one can actually hear the action on the guitar in the Jimmie Rodgers song, and just hearing the young Autry emulating his idol is a special joy to any listener attuned to this music. Released by Columbia as a budget-priced disc backed by the bluesy Frank Luther/Carson Robison-authored "Left My Gal in the Mountains," it became one of Autry's first big hits. The joy -- or the drawback -- of this first disc is that it contains multiple versions of several songs, not from the same sessions but from recording sessions for rival labels spaced weeks and months apart, but this gives you an opportunity to hear Autry's style and approach evolve as he shifted from working in a duo to a solo act, with different accompaniments, so that you hear him redo "My Dreaming of You," "My Alabama Home," and "Stay Away from My Chicken House."

By disc two, Autry had become not only comfortable but totally professional working with the microphone, and the quality of his recordings improved immeasurably -- his control of his vocal dynamics made him seem an almost larger-than-life presence in a very subtle way on these sides, even as the simplicity of his songs and the sentiments behind them beguiles the listener on another level; and he was so good and confident on his guitar that he was, by this point, meshing beautifully and seamlessly with whatever accompaniment -- steel guitar, string band -- that he was working with. The sheer number of recordings on these sides in so short a time was also an integral part of Autry's success; early in his career, he wasn't signed exclusively to any label, and as the Great Depression took hold of the country and wiped out a lot of recording careers, he found his sales and the demand for his recordings only growing, and he took full advantage of this situation by recording for as many budget labels as he possibly could -- his records might have only been selling for 10 or 15 cents each, versus 75 cents for full-priced 78s, but they were selling in ever-rising numbers. Also featured here are Autry's first sides for ARC (the American Record Corporation), which became one of the more important of his many recording relationships in a career covering five decades. The highlight of the side, with all of these important moments and gems, is his slight rendition of Jimmie Rodgers' "My Rough and Rowdy Ways."

Disc three starts off with more Jimmie Rodgers material and, indeed, may mark the high-point of Autry's work in that vein, in the most beautiful homage that "The Singing Brakeman" ever received in his lifetime. Autry seems to rise to the occasion here, getting into some serious guitar flourishes and showing a command of the microphone more appropriate to a seasoned veteran than to a still-fresh-faced boy from Oklahoma in his first year of recording. Disc four opens with perhaps the most unusual record of Autry's early career, "The Death of Mother Jones," a tribute to labor activist Mary Harris Jones. It stands apart from the blues numbers that follow and speaks volumes about Autry's range and also his personal view of the world in the brutal labor environment of the early '30s; there are two versions here, both of which were released and one of which -- the more interesting of the two in terms of livelier accompaniment -- is in somewhat rougher shape. The rest of the cuts here show the rawer, bluesier side of Autry's output with superb originals such as "Bear Cat Papa Blues" and "High Steppin' Mama." By this time, except for the occasional Jimmie Rodgers, Frank Marvin, or Jimmie Davis song, most of Autry's repertory was comprised of originals. Disc five is fascinating for showing Autry's evolving versions of songs, including "I'm a Truthful Fellow," that he would approach in more advanced versions in later sessions -- this is the first disc on which you get newly discovered masters, including two complete takes of "Valley in the Hills."

Disc six takes you to the peak of Autry's early career when he seemed to find the perfect balance between blues and ballads; there's real virtuosity in his playing and warmth and range in his singing. It starts off with "Rheumatism Blues" and "I'm Atlanta Bound" (the latter featuring Roy Smeck, no less, on steel guitar, which he makes sound like a mandolin), before shifting gears with "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine," which became his signature tune for the remainder of his career, and you get another version of "My Alabama Home." Disc seven starts with more of those sessions featuring Smeck, but soon Autry began working with less distinctive accompaniment, and changed direction, away from blues and away from the influence of Jimmie Rodgers -- this is the disc on which Gene Autry the cowboy singer starts to emerge. The difference at first is relatively subtle, but midway through this disc the songs turn more sentimental and also more commercial, in the sense that they're more "produced" and less spontaneous, with smoother accompaniment.

Disc nine closes out the set with Autry sessions from 1933, as his own persona began to coalesce around the cowboy and rural songs in his own voice, without the influence of Rodgers in evidence at all. The box is handsomely put together and comes complete with a large, profusely illustrated hardcover book containing not only a full sessionography but also a substantial essay by scholar Packy Smith and supporting essays totalling 100 pages. That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine is, to be sure, a lot of Gene Autry, but it tells you something about how much music the man had to offer even in those earliest days of his career, before the movie and radio contracts, at a time when he still needed his railroad employee pass to make the trips from Oklahoma to New York to do these recordings. By the time the last of the recordings has played, you're at the point where Autry was poised to become the multimedia country music giant in the manner he was known for the next six decades. Producer Art Satherly was masterminding the direction of his recordings, and even Smiley Burnette (who would become Autry's most visible associate thanks to the movies) had entered his orbit. This box explains and delineates the events between Autry's beginnings and how he got to the place at which he became a pop culture institution. It's a story worth telling and a story worth hearing, albeit over a period of weeks for maximum effect and absorption as it is a lot of music, all of it good and much of it great.


CD 1
01. My Dreaming Of You
02. My Alabama Home
03. Stay Away From My Chicken House
04. My Oklahoma Home
05. I'll Be Thinking Of You Little Gal
06. I'll Be Thinking Of You Little Gal
07. Cowboy Yodel
08. Why Don't You Come Back To Me
09. No One To Call Me Darling
10. Living In The Mountains
11. Yodelin' Gene
12. Blue Yodel No.5
13. Left My Gal In The Mountains
14. Why Don't You Come Back To Me
15. Hobo Yodel
16. Dust Pan Blues
17. No One To Call Me Darling
18. Frankie And Johnny
19. Railroad Boomer
20. My Alabama Home
21. Slue-Foot Lue
22. Stay Away From My Chicken House
23. Waiting For A Train
24. Lullaby Yodel
25. California Blues (Blue Yodel No.4)
26. Daddy And Home

CD 2
01. That's Why I Left The Mountains
02. Cowboy Yodel
03. I'll Be Thinking Of You Little Gal
04. My Rough And Rowdy Ways
05. I'll Be Thinking Of You Little Gal
06. Cowboy Yodel
07. Whisper Your Mother's Name
08. The Girl I Left Behind
09. I'll Be Thinking Of You Little Gal
10. Cowboy Yodel
11. In The Shadow Of The Pine
12. Hobo Yodel
13. They Cut Down The Old Pine Tree
14. Texas Blues
15. Hobo Bill's Last Ride
16. Dust Pan Blues
17. My Carolina Sunshine Girl
18. Train Whistle Blues
19. Anniversary Blue Yodel No.7
20. In The Jailhouse Now No.2
21. The Yodeling Hobo
22. Pictures Of My Mother
23. Blue Days
24. He's In The Jail House No.2
25. Cowboy's Yodel
26. Dad In The Hills

CD 3
01. High Powered Mama
02. The Yodeling Hobo
03. Mean Mama Blues
04. Blue Yodel No.8
05. Pistol Packin' Papa
06. Dad In The Hills
07. Pictures Of My Mother
08. Any Old Time
09. Money Ain't No Use Anyway
10. Blue Days
11. A Gangster's Warning
12. Pictures Of My Mother
13. That's How I Got My Start
14. True Blue Bill
15. Do Right Daddy Blues
16. Do Right Daddy Blues
17. Money Ain't No Use Anyway
18. Money Ain't No Use Anyway
19. That's How I Got My Start
20. That's How I Got My Start
21. Bear Cat Papa Blues
22. Bear Cat Papa Blues
23. True Blue Bill
24. A Gangster's Warning
25. A Gangster's Warning
26. I'll Always Be A Rambler

CD 4
01. The Death Of Mother Jones
02. The Death Of Mother Jones
03. Bear Cat Papa Blues
04. High Steppin' Mama
05. High Steppin' Mama Blues
06. She Wouldn't Do It
07. Don't Do Me That Way
08. Don't Do Me That Way
09. High Steppin' Mama Blues
10. She Wouldn't Do It
11. Do Right Daddy Blues
12. T.B. Blues
13. Jimmie The Kid
14. Travelin' Blues
15. There's A Good Gal In The Mountains
16. There's A Good Gal In The Mountains
17. She's A Low Down Mama
18. She's A Low Down Mama
19. She's A Low Down Mama
20. The Old Woman And The Cow
21. The Old Woman And The Cow
22. Bear Cat Mama From Horner's Corners
23. She's A Hum Dum Dinger
24. Old Man Duff
25. Old Man Duff

CD 5
01. I'm A Truthful Fellow (True Blue Bill)
02. I'm A Truthful Fellow (True Blue Bill)
03. Valley In The Hills
04. Valley In The Hills
05. Valley In The Hills
06. She's Just That Kind
07. She's Always On My Mind
08. She's Always On My Mind
09. I'm Blue And Lonesome
10. I'm Blue And Lonesome
11. Pistol Packin' Papa
12. Jail House Blues
13. That's How I Got My Start
14. Methodist Pie
15. Do Right Daddy Blues
16. Money Ain't No Use Anyhow
17. Money Ain't No Use Anyhow
18. I'll Be Thinking Of You Little Gal
19. Dallas County Jail Blues
20. She Wouldn't Do It
21. T.B. Blues
22. T.B. Blues
23. True Blue Bill
24. That's How I Got My Start
25. I'll Always Be A Rambler
26. Bear Cat Papa Blues
27. I've Got The Jail House Blues

CD 6
01. Rheumatism Blues
02. I'm Atlanta Bound
03. High Steppin' Mama Blues
04. That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine
05. Missouri I'm Calling
06. Missouri I'm Calling
07. My Alabama Home
08. Mississippi Valley
09. My Old Pal Of Yesterday
10. Missouri I'm Calling
11. Cross-Eyed Gal That Lived Upon The Hill
12. I'm Always Dreaming Of You
13. Why Don't You Come Back To Me
14. Jailhouse Blues
15. Rheumatism Blues
16. I'm Atlanta Bound
17. Wildcat Mama
18. Mississippi Valley Blues
19. My Old Pal Of Yesterday
20. My Cross-Eyed Girl
21. Birmingham Daddy
22. Why Don't You Come Back To Me
23. Why Don't You Come Back To Me
24. She's A Low Down Mama

CD 7
01. I'm A Railroad Man (Waitin' On A Weary Train)
02. Under The Old Apple Tree
03. Wild Cat Mama Blues
04. There's A Good Girl In The Mountains
05. That Ramshackle Shack
06. Back To Old Smoky Mountain
07. Back To Old Smoky Mountain
08. Back Home In The Blue Ridge Mountains
09. The Crime I Didn't Do
10. Kentucky Lullaby
11. Alone With My Sorrows
12. I'm Always Dreaming Of You
13. Morning And Skies
14. Returning To My Cabin Home
15. In The Cradle Of My Dreams
16. My Carolina Mountain Rose
17. Have You Found Someone Else
18. In The Hills Of Carolina
19. A Gangster's Warning
20. Back To Old Smokey Mountain
21. Back Home In The Blue Ridge Mountains
22. That Ramshackle Shack
23. Black Bottom Blues
24. Kentucky Lullaby
25. Kentucky Lullaby

CD 8
01. Cowboy's Heaven
02. The Little Ranch House On The Old Circle B
03. The Yellow Rose Of Texas
04. Your Voice Is Ringing
05. Louisiana Moon
06. Louisiana Moon
07. Louisiana Moon
08. Cowboy's Heaven
09. Cowboy's Heaven
10. The Little Ranch House On The Old Circle B
11. If I Could Bring Back My Buddy
12. If I Could Bring Back My Buddy
13. The Old Folks Back Home
14. The Old Folks Back Home
15. The Yellow Rose Of Texas
16. The Yellow Rose Of Texas
17. The Yellow Rose Of Texas
18. Gosh! I Miss You All The Time
19. The Answer To 21 Years
20. The Answer To 21 Years
21. When It's Lamp Lightin' Time In The Valley
22. When It's Lamp Lightin' Time In The Valley
23. Watching The Clouds Roll By

CD 9
01. Don't Take Me Back To The Chain Gang
02. Don't Take Me Back To The Chain Gang
03. In The Valley Of The Moon
04. In The Valley Of The Moon
05. When The Mailman Says No Mail Today
06. When The Humming Birds Are Humming
07. When The Humming Birds Are Humming
08. Roll Along Kentucky Moon
09. That Mother And Daddy Of Mine
10. Way Out West In Texas
11. The Dying Cowgirl
12. The Death Of Jimmie Rodgers
13. The Life Of Jimmie Rodgers
14. If You'll Let Me Be Your Little Sweetheart
15. That Old Feather Bed On The Farm
16. There's An Empty Cot In The Bunkhouse Tonight
17. A Hill-Billy Wedding In June
18. Moonlight Down In Lovers' Lane
19. The Last Round-Up
20. When Jimmie Rodgers Said Good-bye
21. Good Luck Old Pal ('Til We Meet Bye And Bye)
22. Bye Bye Boyfriend (Blackbird)
23. Frankie And Johnnie



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