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 Ultimate Collection

Audio CD (May 21, 2002)

Number of Discs: 1

Label: Hip-O Records Hip-O/MCA 088 112 815-2

ASIN: B000066F3E


Album Review by O J Sikes:


    With so many re-issues often duplicating each other, it's a pleasure to see this 21-song CD taken from the Decca (14), Vocalion/Columbia (3), RCA Victor (2) and Coral (2) labels. Many of the essentials from the early years are here, e.g. "I'm an Old Cowhand" (which showcases the individual members of the 1936 group) and you can hear Tim Spencer solo on several tunes. Some of these songs can be found on other CDs but they aren't always in good condition. In addition, you'd have to go to several different sources to find them all.

    There are quite a few versions here that haven't been re-issued on CD. Decca's "So Long to the Red River Valley" (1941) & "Hills of Old Wyomin'" (1936), the Roy Rogers composition "My Saddle Pals & I" and Nolan's "I Wonder if She Waits for Me Tonight" from a 1937 Columbia/ARC session, all appear on CD for the first time. "Lilies Grow High" & "The River of No Return," from 1954 Coral recordings, are only available on a Bear Family boxed set. So you get some real "finds" here.

    Several years ago, MCA put out a budget CD containing several of the Decca sides found on this disc, but it had no liner notes and the audio was in terrible shape. Here, the songs sound far better, although the CD's not without it's blemishes, e.g. "Echoes from the Hills" was transferred at the wrong speed (a little too fast). Colin Escott & Laurence Zwisohn, both respected names in the field, wrote interesting liner notes. Larry does make one mistake, though, attributing the vocal solo on "Riders in the Sky" to Tommy Doss instead of Bob Nolan. 

    An excellent addition to any Western music library. Available in stores and online.




 1. Way Out There (Bob Nolan)

 2. Tumbling Tumbleweeds (Bob Nolan)

 3. There's a Roundup in the Sky (Bob Nolan)

 4. Empty Saddles (Billy Hill / J. Brennan)

 5. Blue Prairie (Tim Spencer / Bob Nolan)

 6. One More Ride (Bob Nolan)

 7. So Long to the Red River Valley (Glenn Spencer)

 8. Cool Water (Bob Nolan)

 9. I'm an Old Cowhand (Johnny Mercer)

10. The Hills of Old Wyomin' (Robin / Rainger)

11. Blue Bonnet Girl (Glenn Spencer)

12. Ride, Ranger, Ride (Tim Spencer)

13. Echoes from the Hills (Bob Nolan)

14. I Follow the Stream (Bob Nolan)

15. My Saddle Pals and I (Roy Rogers

16. Song of the Bandit (Bob Nolan)

17. I Wonder if She Waits for Me Tonight (Bob Nolan)

18. Chant of the Wanderer (Bob Nolan)

19. Riders in the Sky (Stan Jones)

20. The Lillies Grow High (Stan Jones)

21. The River of No Return (Darby / Newman)