Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Live! Barry Gray Show October 27, 1946
Genres: Folk, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Listen to Samples
A dynamitic Jolson entertains on radio magnificently
Phil S. | 08/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You will experience Al Jolson at his best being interviewed by Barry Gray. You will experience how Jolson could captivate an audience not only as a superb singer, but as a great comedian, without the benefit of a script. He was a master showman who delighted in pleasing his audience. He is the most electrifying entertainer of the the century. You become an instance Jolson fan when you listen to this CD!"
A time-capsule entry for a Show Business Legend
Phil S. | USA | 07/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Al Jolson has not traveled through time well. As American society has developed, poeple, artists, associated with stereotypes, even deemed to be "racist", often fall by the wayside.
"Minstrel Shows" and the costuming, make-up, etc., were a big part of show business up until the 1920s or so, and an immigrant from Lithuania, who wanted to make it show business, and had a feel for Black music, jumped into them.
Jolson's "character" was of the rural Black man, with no formal education, but wioth a Doctorate in how to outwit white antagonists. He brought this character onto the Broadway stage; brought with him songs like "Rockabye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody", and many others, which combined African-American and Jewish Cantorial music.
But today's audiences take alot of the above as "spin"...
After many years of supporting player status in movies and relative failure on radio, a B+ musical was made, supposedly telling his life story. It was a phenomenal hit. Jolson was back!
While The Jolson Story played at Radio City Music hall, Jolie stopped in to THe Barry Gray Show, in the early morning on October 27th, 1946 - 19 years after his most famous movie, The Jazz Singer, premiered. Reference was made to "Blackface"...but no questions like "Looking back, was it right to use that make-up, knowing that Blacks themselves were basically banned from the venues you performed in?".
What we do hear is a master captivating the small in-studio audience; giving the young Barry Gray, a huge AJ fan, an exprience of a lifetime. It may sound like liner-note hyperbole, but the versions on this CD are probably the *best* versions he ever did.
Probably transcribed from a radio station acetate, the sound is pretty good - Jolson's dynamics are are spot-on.
Another feature is the Interview - could have sufficed as a separate CD. Al is actually hilarious in spots. Maybe his own radio shows could have survived if he wasn't stuck with corny, jokey scripts, and just kept it informal, as he did so beautifully with Mr. Gray."