Vaughn Monroe’s smooth, rich baritone made him one of the most distinctive balladeers of the big band era. Adding to his appeal was his knack for picking the right material, from swoon-inducing love songs to stirring cowboy tunes. This anthology offers a generous sampling of hits from his first decade as a recording star, stretching from the near-operatic “Yours” (1941) through the sultry “Bamboo” (1950). Monroe was nicknamed “The Voice with Hair on Its Chest” and “Old Leather Tonsils” due to his deep, manly tones, but what comes across in these performances most is his tenderness as a vocalist, as evidenced by such favorites as “My Devotion,” “There! I’ve Said It Again," and “Ballerina.” Shifting gears, he reached the Top 10 with “Cool Water” in 1948, leading to other Western-tinged hits like “Mule Train,” “That Lucky Old Sun," and “Riders in the Sky” (a No. 1 smash for 12 weeks). Monroe parlayed his success as a singer into movie appearances and stints as a radio and TV show host. He's best remembered, though, for these deliriously romantic, impeccably sung recordings.