Texan-born Gene Austin (1900-1972) was quite simply the voice of the 1920s, the pioneer of crooning who preceded Bing Crosby as the most popular entertainer of his time. His genial, relaxed voice was one of the most cherished sounds to come from the phonograph
loudspeaker; sold an estimated 86 million records!
Austin was known as “The Voice of the Southland”, and his theme song opens a unique collection of 26 hits that stands as the most comprehensive survey of his work available. Included (of course) is My Blue Heaven, which was the biggest selling 78 of all time prior to White Christmas. A notable songwriter, there are a couple of his own compositions, such as When My Sugar Walks Down The Street (his first hit, a duet with Aileen Stanley) and The Lonesome Road.
Otherwise the entertaining sequence contains a rich selection of favourite standards – many of which he introduced – e.g. Carolina Moon, Girl Of My Dreams, Love Letters In The Sand and his second biggest hit of all, the multi-million selling Ramona, plus some
pleasantly jazz-tinged numbers, like Fats Waller’s I’ve Got A Feeling I’m Falling (with Waller himself) and Ain’t Misbehavin’.