Woody's Roundup

Riders In The Sky

Walt Disney Records, 2000


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


In the liner notes to Woody's Roundup, a collection of music used in or related to Toy Story 2, director John Lasseter admits that they wanted to go for a retro-feel to the show that created Woody in the '50s (according to the script of Toy Story 2). Indeed, if you're a member of the Baby Boomer generation (which I am not), hearing the real-life Western group Riders In The Sky voicing these songs should bring back memories of the early days of television.

Let's state for the record what Lasseter basically admits in the liner notes: Woody's Roundup is not meant to be a soundtrack to my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Toy Story 2. Instead, what this album does is twofold for someone like Lasseter. First, it ties together the theme of the '50s TV show with music from an authentic Western group. Second, it gave Lasseter the chance to work with people who he now calls friends.

Okay, you're thinking, but what does this mean for me, the listener? I'm glad you asked, 'cause this is the kind of album that has enough charm for the kids and the parents alike. Woody's Roundup is just a lot of fun.

The kids will eat this disc up thanks to all the references to their favorite characters from Toy Story 2, including Woody, Jessie, Bullseye, "Stinky" Pete the Prospector... and even references to some of the original Toy Story characters (most notably on "My Favorite Toys".

For the adults, not only is Woody's Roundup a disc which will evoke memories of your childhood, but it will also give you an enjoyable half-hour with some true Western music - the way Roy Rogers would have done it if he were still alive. I refer to Rogers mainly because of the track "How Does She Yodel?"; I don't remember what tape of an old-time radio show it was, but I remember hearing Rogers singing during it and breaking into a yodel. (Or maybe it was "The Muppet Show"; the memories get fuzzy.)

And, c'mon, for someone who smacks down more discs for hidden tracks than a professional wrestler abusing his opponent, how can you not like a hidden track labeled, "Shhh! A Secret Bonus Track!"? Someone at Disney has obviously been paying attention to my rants.

The only track I couldn't get into was "Act Naturally" - not that Riders In The Sky did a poor job, but only because I'm so used to different versions that it's hard for me to adapt to new takes on old favorites.

There's a reason why Woody's Roundup was nominated for a Grammy this year - and a good deal of the credit should to to Riders In The Sky for making this music come alive. Lasseter knew what he was doing when he selected them to sing "Woody's Roundup" in Toy Story 2, and having them make a companion album is an appropriate touch.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Walt Disney Records, and is used for informational purposes only.