Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
You Ain't Heard Nothin: Jolie's Finest Columbia
Genres: Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
If you can, put aside memories of his dated blackface routines and give a listen to this disc of Al Jolson's Columbia recordings from 1913 to 1932. Jolson was a master at melding styles--jazz, blues, and Tin Pan Alley--int... more »
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If you can, put aside memories of his dated blackface routines and give a listen to this disc of Al Jolson's Columbia recordings from 1913 to 1932. Jolson was a master at melding styles--jazz, blues, and Tin Pan Alley--into a syncopated, infectiously funny routine that sounded like nobody else. He was a musical pioneer--one of the few who transferred his mega-success from the stage to early recorded media, and into movies (with his starring role in The Jazz Singer). On these recordings, we can hear his talent in full bloom (and at its prime). "That Little German Band," a top-five hit in 1913, is corny but cute, "On the Road to Calias" is sentimental and touching, and "Swanee"--a collaboration between lyricist Irving Caesar and George Gershwin--is the song most of us remember Jolson for. Of course, the sound quality isn't the best (the majority of tracks were recorded in the days leading up to electrical recording methods), and the orchestra often sounds like an afterthought. That said, this is still a great collection of tunes from America's first entertainment star. --Jason Verlinde
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Ear worms for sale
glamaFez | Kansas City, MO USA | 08/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first time I heard an old Al Jolson record, I thought "who the hell is that?". I heard several layers of manic melodrama going on in his performance, along with strange parodies of foreign accents, and a whole kitchen sinkload of weirdness too subtle to describe. These performances are from that era and have those qualities.
The acoustic horn's narrow dynamic range enhances everything I love about these recordings. Sometimes it's as if you're listening to a crazed puppet or ventriloquist's dummy who wants you to adopt him, and who also happens to sing very well!
This is very entertaining stuff, totally different from later recordings where he is backed by a swing-era big band. If you want high fidelity, look elsewhere. It's pretty much irrelevant to what is appealing about these recordings (they're OLD recordings....got that?) They will add atmosphere and meaning to your life.
Many of the songs, once they're stuck in your mind, will be hard to dislodge. The term is "ear worm" and this disc is full of them. They are a fine antidote to the bland overproduced fodder that fills the airwaves today."
Great for the Music Historian
Edward J Vasicek | Kokomo, IN USA | 04/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is great for the music historian. It features selections from the World's Greatest Entertainer from 1913 through the early 30's.This CD is well remastered, but even modern technology can only do so much. The songs recorded before 1925 were sung into a horn to cut the record, so even with the best technology, it sounds like you are hearing Jolson through a garden hose or tunnel. The selections done with the use of a microphone (1925 and after) sound quite a bit better.Fans who want to get as much of Jolson as they can to complete their collection will definitely want this one; folks who want to hear clean, clear, and potent Jolson would do better to buy CD's based on his recordings from the 40's (Best of the Decca Years, or Jolson Live, for example)."
Jolson is underappreciated
Jmark2001 | Florida | 05/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up with an older generation that idolized Jolson. By the time I reached adolescence, Jolson was easy to imitate and mock. His sentimental songs were remembered while his jazz singing was forgotten. When I finally began to collect music from the twenties, Jolson's jazz age recordings were a revelation. Jolson understood jazz singing and he had the spirit of it down perfectly. Forget the later Jolson when he bascially phoned in his performances. Check out young, lean, hungry, and jazz Jolson. He was good."