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Johnny Bond

Country and Western: Standard Transcriptions – 2001 (Bloodshot Revival)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Johnny Bond

At long last, Johnny Bond (1915-1978) seems to be getting his due. The talented singer and songwriter, who penned such enduring classics as "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" and "Tomorrow Never Comes" was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1999, but those who wanted to find out more about him had little to go on in the way of available recordings.

Since few of his signature tunes are on this release, Bloodshot Revival's issue of these mid-1940's transcriptions recordings made for a kind of syndicated radio broadcast doesn't meet that problem head-on, but it's an encouraging start and a great set of music to boot. With long-time partners Jimmy Wakely an even bigger star at the time and bassist Dick Reinhardt on board, augmented by guitarist Wesley Tuttle and the occasional appearance of steel guitarist (and fellow Oklahoman) Noel Boggs, Bond recorded a dizzying array of material. Much of what's here has a western flavor that reflected their connection with Gene Autry and the cowboy movies then so popular. The lush harmonies and smooth accompaniment are well-suited to Bond's supple baritone,whether it's on a faux cowboy song like "Mexicali Rose," the sentimental pop-country of "Have I Stayed Away Too Long" or a proto-honkytonker like Ted Daffan's "Headin' Down The Wrong Highway" or Bond's own "Ten Years."

Bond's most important recordings remain unavailable on CD, but until that's remedied, this release, with its impeccable production and informative liner notes by Rich Kienzle, will remain the essential Johnny Bond album - and even then, it'll be a welcome addition to any country collection.