Johnny Bond

Johnny Bond isn’t exactly a household name anymore, but in the 1940s, he was a popular singer and a influential country-western songwriter, whose compositions include "Cimarron" and the oft-covered "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight." The 31 tracks on this disc were originally recorded in 1944-1945 for radio broadcast and include a number of Bond’s own songs, as well as standards like "Mexicali Rose" and "Oklahoma Hills" (a big hit for Jack Guthrie and also for Bob Wills). Bond’s warm baritone is supported by the crack Red River Valley Boys, who were well-known as Tex Ritter’s backing band. The music spends most of its time in the dusty border country between western swing and cowboy crooning, and while it does get a bit hokey at times, some moments—like the harmony singing and gently bluesy guitar on "Birmingham Jail"—are chilling.