*** VARIOUS ARTISTS, "Golden Throats 3--Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive" Rhino Say what you will about the wave of "authenticity" that's swept Nashville in the post-"Urban Cowboy" backlash years. But at least it's dissuaded Hollywood types from making a quick buck slumming by way of the sticks.
Providing a painfully nostalgic look at '60s and '70s Tennessee star turns is the third volume in Rhino's "Golden Throats" series of celebrity songfests.
Cringe as Merv Griffin turns "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" into a middle-of-the-road \o7 twist \f7 record. Cower as Leonard Nimoy puts his paralyzing grip on "I Walk the Line." Feel preternaturally parched as crusty Walter Brennan makes "Cool Water" into a genuine near-death experience. And head for the hills as tuneless Goldie Hawn (with the Buckaroos!) makes "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" into a threat, not a promise.
Carol Channing and Louis Armstrong provide the most excruciatingly anti-country vocals. The biggest laugh, though, comes with a Muzak-styled "Folsom Prison Blues," with Living Marimbas Plus Voices singing that they "killed a man in Reno just to watch him die" so cheerfully you just know this was the murder weapon. This is more fun than cow-tipping.
\o7 New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).