Friday, July 20, 2012 at 6:01PM
Jennifer Mandel


I happened upon this box set during an out-of-town foray to Cheap Thrills records in San Luis Obispo.  Sitting innocently in the dollar box on the floor between the umpteenth copy of Herb Alpert's "Whipped Cream" and a moldering Shaun Cassidy missive was this lovely green package in excellent condition.  "Surely", I thought to myself, "this must belong in a different bin.  Seven records for a mere $7.98?  Why, that's just over a dollar per record!"  

Sure enough, this amazing, 7 album Reader's Digest "Pleasure Programmed" vinyl box set entitled "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" (in excellent condition I might add) was waiting for a new home, a home with my name on it.

This collection is not a shabbily constructed shack, but a solidly built silo of songs by country, western, and even some pop vocalists of the 40's, 50's, and 60's.  These tracks are well-recorded, some with string sections, others with full, lush harmonies, and still others with banjos, yodeling,  and, likely, Martin nylon-string parlor guitars.  

Some of the artists making their appearance on these discs include The Sons of the Pioneers, Merle Travis, Jimmie Rodgers, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and even Bob Wills.  It is cleverly divided up thematically, with such Western sub-genres as "The Great Railroad Songs," "Along the Trail," "Western Landscapes," and "Legends and Sagas."  My favorite theme is on disc 5, entitled "South of the Border," which contains a song with which I've become completely obsessed, "My Adobe Hacienda" by The Sons of the Pioneers.  (So much so, in fact, that I now have "'My Adobe Hacienda' radio" dialed in on Pandora).  It fuels my fantasy of 1940's rural California as the Wild West as filtered through a Barbara Stanwyck movie which takes place in a white-walled, oak-beamed ranch house with fabulous mexican rugs and pottery. Dwell my ass.  

If you ever get a hankerin' for the Old West or want to take a trip down Mexico Way via old Hollywood, pull on your suede culottes, saddle up and hit the happy trails for the dollar bin.  

Wine pairing:  Whiskey, chewing tobacco, and a can 'o beans.

Article originally appeared on uncleagnes (http://www.uncleagnes.com/).
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