by: Pat Boone

Although this is actually Pat Boone's second album, it is, in essence, his debut album, since the first one contained only two new recordings, the others being all his early hits. And what a debut album it is. After more than a year of doing mostly R&B covers, along comes Howdy! to introduce us to and surprise us with a uniquely sensitive, gentle but full-bodied handling of some great standards. There is a youthful maturity here -- but without the sophistication. Boone's musical instincts are keenly evident to the senses: never too much when exercising his strong young voice on "Lucky Old Sun," never too little with the sweet subtlety of "Would You Like to Take a Walk?" "Begin the Beguine," the album's lead-off song, is a thrilling, captivating rendition, while along the way we are treated to a snappy and entertaining "Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy" and two beautiful ballads, "With You" and "Forgive Me." The latter two introduce Boone's growing legion of fans to the type of song in which he would leave his strongest mark -- sweetly sentimental, but never syrupy, and always accompanied with orchestral arrangements that never need to accommodate any vocal limitations. Howdy! makes clear to us early on Pat Boone's unique versatility. ~ Arthur Rowe

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