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Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers At RKO: Motion Picture Soundtrack Anthology
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers At RKO: Motion Picture Soundtrack Anthology
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #2

During the "talkies'" first decade, Hollywood quickly rivalled Broadway as a major platform for the best pop music, and no franchise underlined this potential better than the Astaire/Rogers musicals released by RKO Pictu...  more »

      
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Amazon.com
During the "talkies'" first decade, Hollywood quickly rivalled Broadway as a major platform for the best pop music, and no franchise underlined this potential better than the Astaire/Rogers musicals released by RKO Pictures. Ironically, that golden age of musicals preceded the introduction of LPs, so it's been left until now for the release of this comprehensive two-CD anthology, which extracts classic vocal performances of classics from Irving Berlin and the Gershwins, among others, slighter but no less charming novelty songs, and brief dialogue excerpts. For fans, it's the mother lode, but even more casual listeners will be reminded of Astaire's deceptively plain yet indelible voice, and Rogers' own warm, engaging style. --Sam Sutherland

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CD Reviews

Excellent Choice for Fans of the Astaire/Rogers Films
manda600 | Michigan | 10/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I was thrilled to discover this CD set. Previously, I had been looking for Fred Astaire albums that included the songs from his films with Ginger Rogers, but they were all slightly different from their film versions (some people may not have noticed, but it really bothered me). Then, I found this at my local library and loved it so much I had to buy my own copy. These are, obviously, the songs exactly as they are heard in the films, as they are all taken directly from the film source. I know that some have put down the audio quality as "poor". Granted, the quality is not up to par with the audio on recordings currently being produced. However, it's important to remember these recordings are from the 1930s. It's only natural that they won't have the same kind of audio quality and crispness we're used to now. With that in mind, I was satisfied with the recordings.

One of the great things about this set is the dialogue from the movies that is included with some of the songs. I was pleasantly surprised by it and, as someone else mentioned, it really does conjure up the movie scenes again in your mind. I also think it should be mentioned that the "liner notes" included here are much more than a simple song list. It is a 39 page booklet with pictures, a history of both Astaire and Rogers lives and careers (including a history of their real-life romance), as well as information on the movies and their creation. For a fan, having this booklet included is a wonderful, added bonus.

I rated this CD package 4 stars because 4 1/2 wasn't available. The reason I demoted it that 1/2 a star is because there are a few songs from the films that were not included, namely "The Piccolino" from TOP HAT, the reprise of "A Fine Romance/The Way You Look Tonight" from the finale of SWING TIME, and "Since They Turned Loch Lomand Into Swing" from CAREFREE. Still, because of what is included, I think this is well worth purchasing for any Astaire/Rogers fans. [I also recommend the 2-disk CD set "Fred Astaire at MGM", if you'd like to own the songs from "THE BARKELYS OF BROADWAY", his final film with Ginger Rogers.]"
My Homage to Mr. Jerome Kern
manda600 | 11/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm giggling as I'm writing this, because my musical knowledge comes no where near my literary knowledge, or my knowledge of film. (I never in a million years thought I'd write anything other than a book or video review.)But, as I said in my title, I want to pay homage to dear Mr. Kern. I bought this CD because after I saw Fred & Ginger's movie "Swing Time," I fell head-over-heels in love with the Jerome Kern score, and Mr. Kern immediately became my favorite composer (though all the other greats of the first half of the 20th century are very close seconds: Berlin, Porter, R & H, Gershwin, etc.).This CD is worth the price (heck, MORE than worth the price) just for the breathtakingly beautiful score of "Swing Time" (Disc 2, Songs 1-6). As far as I know, the original score to "Swing Time" is not, by itself, on CD (don't quote me on that). So buy this CD, for it is simply unthinkable that any fan of American standards (pre-1950) not experience the magic of this music. (Yes, MAGIC; it motivated me to buy this CD, and I only own, including this one, THREE CDs!!!)Well, now I'm off, because writing this has made me want to listen to it...for the HUNDREDTH time!!!"
Fun stuff from Hollywood's golden era
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 02/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After years of success on the Broadway stage, Fred & Ginger started off their movie careers in 1933 with the frothy comedy, "Flying Down To Rio," and went on to make ten films for the RKO studio, each of which, naturally, included plenty of high-class hoofing and Tin Pan Alley songsmithing. This generous 2-CD set gathers nearly all the musical numbers from these films -- "Top Hat," "Gay Divorcee" and others -- along with some incidental dialogue and even extended passages with the ratatatat-tarrrump!! of Astaire's tapdancing. It's classic material, with lively versions of some of the biggest standards of the 'Thirties (Astaire's films were often used as vehicles to introduce pop hits to a mass audience...) There's also a roughness and informality to these recordings that many folks might find appealing, as the music is lifted straight from the actual films, and that's part of the charm... Okay, so maybe we have to admit that Ginger Rogers was a terrible singer, but Astaire's gentle crooning more than makes up for it, and all of these old tracks are tremendously entertaining, as well as historically rich. Recommended!"