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That's What I Like About the West

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Album Review

Now that Capitol's Vintage Collection is out of print, this is the best available Tex Williams compilation. Actually, it's the best of them all, as it features his biggest hits not only with the Western Caravan, but also with Spade Cooley's orchestra, making it about as definitive as you could hope for. The sound quality is as good as it gets (the Cooley tracks actually sound better than Columbia's Spadella! remastering) and it restores excellent songs like "Miss Molly" and "Birmingham Bounce," as well as experimental fare like the jazzy, exotic "Artistry in Western Swing," which had been cut out of previous collections. Diehards may have some qualms about the track selection, but all the biggies are here, and even the more obscure songs are generally excellent.


Born: 23 August 1917 in Ramsey, Fayette County, IL

Genre: Country

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

Although not nearly as well-known as figures like Bob Wills, the Maddox Brothers, and Merle Travis, Tex Williams was an important Western swing performer. Like all of the aforementioned musicians, he helped develop country music from its rural, acoustic origins to a more danceable, city-fied, and electrified form with a much wider popular appeal. At his peak in the late '40s, he also recorded some of the most enjoyable country swing of his time, distinguished by his talking-blues vocal delivery....
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