Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites

This recently reissued collection is a classic example of media cross-marketing—an album designed to capitalize on Clint Eastwood’s early-’60s success as character Rowdy Yates on TV’s Rawhide. Clearly, Clint’s no country singer (despite, ahem, later scoring a No. 1 duet with Merle Haggard). But, to be fair, he did better than many of the other 1960s TV faces who were coerced into muddling their way through records for the kiddies. Even then, Clint had enough smarts not to attempt a teenybopper-friendly throwaway. Instead, he tackles sturdy cowboy songs, several of which Clint’s favored vocalist Bing Crosby had recorded. It’s in a subdued style similar to the Bingster’s, although with less assurance and personality, that young Clint delivers these tunes. 

The obscure bonus cut “Rowdy” is a particular hoot, rounding up the same cowpoke sound effects heard on the better-remembered Rawhide theme. This album probably functions best as a party novelty to which guests can giggle as Clint gamely navigates around the good, the bad and the ugly. 

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