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T. Texas Tyler

The Best of T. Texas Tyler – 1998 (Collectors' Choice Music)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by T. Texas Tyler

Born David Luke Myrick (1916-1972), Tyler's hits for the 4 Star label have long been in need of reissuing. In the absence of interest from other labels, the popular Collector's Choice mail order company stepped up to the plate. And they've done a nice job here. Of the 8 top 40 hits that Tyler had between 1946 and 1954, seven are included. Only 1953's "Bumming Around" (recorded for Decca) is missing. Also included are 11 other Tyler recordings, almost all recorded between 1945 and 1949.

Tyler is undoubtedly best remembered today for his hit "Deck of Cards," which reached Number 2 in 1948 and resulted in Tyler becoming one of the first country performers to ever play at Carnegie Hall. Tyler's follow-up, "Dad Gave My Dog Away," was a shameless but effective spoken word tug on the heartstrings that reached Number 10 a few months later. Lest one think that Tyler specialized in spoken word numbers, Tyler was a strong singer, who used a distinctive bluesy growl as part of his vocal technique. That is particularly effective on "Filipino Baby," "Oklahoma Hills," and "Remember Me."

Tyler became a minister later in life and his '60's recordings - split between gospel and occasional secular numbers - failed to make much of an impression, largely due to the inroads that rock 'n' roll had made in the mid-'50s. Still, this is a welcome tribute to a talented performer ignored for far too long. (800-933-6344)