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Eddy Arnold

After All These Years – 2005 (RCA)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Eddy Arnold

Arguably the single most popular country artist between the 1940s and 1960s,Eddy Arnold is among the music's biggest-and savviest-giants. From his early hits, which featured his smooth voice and the "ting-a-ling" steel guitar of Roy Wiggins, to crossover smashes like "Make The World Go Away," he was a pioneer who helped to expand country's musical horizons and to build Nashville into the center of country music that it is today.

Back in the studio after a long absence, Arnold and co-producers Jack "Cowboy" Clement and Jim Malloy take a restrained approach that's heavy onballads whose melodic range don't challenge the singer's voice. Yet though he's clearly not the singer he once was, Arnold still retains the relaxed yet insightful phrasing of his earlier days, and it goes a long way toward overcoming the limitations age have imposed on his voice.

The material is a nice mix of older and newer songs, including a remake of one of his greatest hits, "You Don't Know Me." Sympathetic backing from an all-star cast adds to the pleasure, and the result is an album that is, while not breath-taking, a satisfying reminder that one of our greatest artists isstill with us.