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Under Western Skies

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Album Review

Under Western Skies is a straight western album that pairs Rex Allen with Victor Young & His Singing Strings for a dozen songs that are largely free of grit, more like Western-theme film music than traditional fare. The orchestral and choral backing on these melancholy songs creates a dreamy ambience, redolent of nighttime on the trail in a picture-perfect western setting. "Nothin' to Do" features Allen's virtuoso yodeling, as does "Sky Boss" (briefly), along with the sounds of real cattle. "I'm a Young Cowboy" is one of a few recordings Allen made of "Streets of Laredo," and he pays tribute to his western forebears on the Sons of the Pioneers' "At the Rainbow's End." Western music has always idealized and romanticized the west, but Under Western Skies raises that vision to ethereal heights.


Born: 31 December 1922 in Wilcox, AZ

Genre: Traditional Pop

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Better-known as the Arizona Cowboy, Rex Allen was the last of Hollywood's singing cowboys. Between 1950 and 1954, Allen starred in 19 movies for Republic studios. The films launched a popular recording career for Allen, as he had several hit singles and albums in the early '50s, before the singing cowboys slowly disappeared from the charts. The son of a fiddle player, Rex Allen was given his first guitar when he was 11 years old; his father intended Rex to support him at dances. Shortly afterwards,...
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