Back in the early 1950s Peewee Hunt's version of Twelve Street Rag and Frankie Laine's celebrated rendering of Jezebel were my first introductions to jazz and popular music and I have always remembered the two performers with gratitude.
Blessed with a strong firm voice plus impeccable diction Frankie Laine has not been accorded the enduring fame of such legends as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole but his recordings still sell well and he continues to be regarded as an absolute master of the once very popular cowboy song. Here he provided the theme song of The 3.10 To Yuma, Gunfight At O.K.Corral and Rawhide. He also recorded popular versions of High Noon and Champion The Wonder Horse
Bear Family have issued On The Trail and the companion On The Trail Again which effectively cover all Laine's well known offerings of the genre. Included are a number of alternative versions of popular favourites which was a speciality of Laine. In addition to those mentioned above the two discs include such enduring favourites as Cool Water, Mule Train, Along The Navajo Trail, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Ghost Riders In The Sky and Blowing Wild. There are a total of 50 tunes on the two CDs and which provide much enjoyable listening.
An introduction to Frankie Laine is provided by Columbia's three disc The Frankie Laine Collection. Here in addition to the cowboy songs three are also love songs and novelty numbers. The great hit Jezebel kicks off disc two.