America the Beautiful [Columbia]

As patriotism peaked about a couple of years after George W. Bush took office, Columbia issued this collection of 13 patriotic songs, including many of the most well-known patriotic standards: "The Star-Spangled Banner" (by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), "Amazing Grace" (Tramaine Hawkins), "America the Beautiful" (Charlie Rich), "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (Mahalia Jackson), "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, again), "Stars and Stripes Forever" (the New York Philharmonic), and "God Bless America" (by perhaps its most noted interpreter, Kate Smith). A highlight is Pete Seeger's cover of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." Johnny Cash is represented by "Ragged Old Flag" and "Song of the Patriot," and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." is here as expected. A fragment of John Wayne's delivery of a Davy Crockett speech from the 1960 film The Alamo appears as the disc nears its conclusion. ~ Richie Unterberger

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