Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Hits of '31
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classic Rock, Broadway & Vocalists
Give this one a try--it's well worth it
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 10/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hits of '31 is an excellent album with quite a few songs and over 75 minutes of music that made the airwaves sizzle in 1931. The liner notes have an informative essay by Peter Dempsey. The track list above lists names of lyricists and/or composers; therefore I'll provide you with a list of the actual performers on this CD.
Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone--Gene Austin
Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea--Cab Calloway
Rockin' Chair--Paul Robeson
The Peanut Vendor--Ambrose & His Orchestra with Sam Browne
Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries--Hutch
When I Take My Sugar To Tea--The Boswell Sisters
Cuban Love Song--Lawrence Tibbett
Just One More Chance--Bing Crosby
Lady Of Spain--Tino Folgar
Walkin' My Baby Back Home--Maurice Chevalier
Would You Like To Take A Walk?--Annette Hanshaw
I Don't Know Why--I Just Do
Prisoner Of Love--Russ Columbo
Dancing In The Dark--The Revelers
Sweet And Lovely--Al Bowlly
Lazy River--Louis Armstrong
River Stay 'Way From My Door--Paul Robeson
Dream A Little Dream Of Me--Ozzie Nelson
Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams--Bing Crosby
Goodnight, Sweetheart--George Metaxa
The CD starts strong with Bing Crosby performing "Stardust." The musical intro is brief and when Bing comes in this number takes flight! His youthful voice (remember, this was recorded in 1931) sounds strong; and his excellent diction bolsters his performance all the more. It's heaven! "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" is actually one of my all time favorite songs; Gene Austin sings this with panache and I always enjoy hearing this tune. Gene Austin's interpretation of "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" reflects his talent, too.
"Nevertheless" by Ruth Etting features her squarely front and center; there is surface noise on this track but you will hear Ruth Etting quite clearly anyway. Ruth shines on this tune and the melody is one of the best I've ever heard. The violins enhance the musical arrangement as well. Listen also for "When I Take My Sugar To Tea" by the incomparable Boswell Sisters; this has a very jazzy flavor to it and those Boswell Sisters display their fine ability to switch effortlessly between tempos and keys quite rapidly as they perform this to perfection--and beyond! Excellent!
"Lady Of Spain" has Tino Folgar giving this an operatic touch and after he sings the lesser known opening lyrics you're bound to enjoy this number if this type of music is what you like. "Lady Of Spain" gets the royal treatment from Tino Folgar and his somewhat deep voice also hits some higher notes gracefully. There's also the great Maurice Chevalier singing "Walkin' My Baby Back Home;" this number is easily a major highlight of this CD and Maurice's French accent infuses this tune with a charming quality that I really like a lot.
Louis Armstrong turns in a solid performance with an early rendition of "Lazy River;" his vocals are nothing less than perform and the musical arrangement lacks nothing. Louis plays a little with the tempo of the lyrics and it works well for this tune. Paul Robeson also sounds just fabulous as he sings "River Stay 'Way From My Door;" Paul's strong bass range voice never misses a beat and he performs this with passion and grace. In addition, there's a 1930s type arrangement of "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" performed by Ozzie Nelson--it'll knock your socks off! The CD ends nicely with George Metaxa doing "Goodnight, Sweetheart." "Goodnight, Sweetheart" has a little more surface noise than I would have liked but you won't have trouble hearing the lyrics and George massages this tune to make it really stand out, too.
Overall, Hits of '31 is a fine CD that nicely chronicles many of the biggest hits of 1931. I highly recommend this for fans of classic pop vocals; and people who enjoy words and music from the early 1930s will not be disappointed.
Excellent British Series
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the second entry in the Living Era series from ASV Ltd. of London which first came out in 1996. And although, like all the others in the series, many of the artists will be more familiar to British listeners, there is no denying the consistent quality of both the sound reproduction (remarkable considering these are 76 years old!) and the performances, even if some are unfamiliar to North American audiences.
Take for example, Sweet And Lovely. A # 1 hit for the Gus Arnheim orchestra and vocalist Donald Novis in North America, this version by Al Bowley is superb. And, of course, Al (who died in the Blitz in 1941) is sort of familiar over here as he had three hits, one in 1929 and two in 1935.
For the record, tracks 1 (# 5), 2 (# 3), 3 (# 15), 8 (# 6), 10 (# 1), 12 (# 19 but actually in 1932 for Arthur Tracy), 14 (# 16 - but also in 1932 for Russ Columbo), and 23 (# 4) were the North American hits in this volume.
Among the other 16 there are some notable North American artists involved, such as Ruth Etting on Nevertheless, Lawrence Tibbett on Cuban Love Song, Annette Hanshaw on Would You Like To Take A Walk?, The Revelers on Dancing In The Dark, the great Louis Armstrong on Lazy River, the controversial Paul Robeson on Rocking Chair and River, Stay Way From My Door, and Ozzie Nelson on Dream A Little Dream Of Me. However, while these versions may have been hits in Britain, over here they belonged to, respectively, Jack Denny, Jacques Renard, Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby, Hoagy Carmichael, The Mills Brothers, Ethel Waters, and Wayne King.
For tracks 5, 7, 11, 13 (the immortal Maurice Chevalier), 15, 21 (Gracie Fields, another well known to North American audiences), and 24 the artists are all either British or more well known over there. The North American hits belonged to, respectively, Don Azpiazu & His Havana Casino Orchestra, Rudy Vallee, Ray Noble (ironic since he WAS British), Nick Lucas, Wayne King, and Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians. The tune Sally, by Gracie Fields, does not appear to have ever been a hit over here.
Rounding out a nice, neat package are 3 pages of informative liner notes written by Peter Dempsey, something you come to expect from CDs originating in the U.K."