"The '50s brimmed with so many outstanding female vocalists even great talent sometimes could not really make the the top or keep up there consistently. These four singers technically are beyond reproach and each has her own individual style, plus all four benefitted from the best arrangers and musicians on their sessions. This is a thoroughly enjoyable C.D., not just nostalgia but a current enjoyment."
Some of the best from some of the best
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Included in this CD are some of the best vocal recordings from some of the best vocalists of the 1950's. There is a good mix of the big hit records like Little Things Mean a Lot by Kitty Kallen to some of the lesser known but good performances such as With Open Arms by Jane Morgan. This is a good collection of 45's from the 1950's."
This CD has a lot of great songs and performances
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this CD for "With Open Arms" by Jane Morgan, but I discovered many other gems here. I had never heard Sylvia Syms before, and her rendition of "You Fascinate Me So" is full of energy and humor. I also like her version of "It's Good to Be Alive." Of the four singers in this collection, I am not crazy about Toni Arden. Her voice is strong and clear, but I find her interpretations somewhat "big" and impersonal. I like all the Jane Morgan songs on this CD; all the Sylvia Syms songs except "The Night They Invented Champagne," which has a gimmicky arrangement; and all the Kitty Kallen songs except "True Love" (not because of her, but I just don't like the song). For anyone who likes female pop vocalists of the 1950s, this is a great collection that offers a variety of styles."
Some Gems - Some Common - Some Eminently Forgettable
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This and its companion male vocalists volume from Varese Vintage, first released in 1996, offer up a mix of some true 1950s hard-to-find gems, a few that seem to make their way into numerous compilations of this sort, and several that simply do not fit the title and in no way help you to "remember" the 1950s.
Starting off with Kitty Kallen, who began her career singing with the Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Dorsey, Harry James, and Artie Shaw bands in the 1940s, producers Cary E. Mansfield and Marty Wekser had numerous memorable performances to choose from and, I suppose, it would be difficult to focus on just four Kitty Kallen tunes without including tracks 5 and 8. Although available in any number of CDs, these were, after all, her two best hits as a solo artist.
The other two, however, are questionable. Are You Looking For A Sweetheart was a very minor # 27 hit in 1953, while her 1956 rendition of True Love, although a nice effort, did not chart for Decca and is not the one we recall. That honour would fall to either the Bing Crosby/Grace Kelly release for Capitol [# 3 Billboard Pop Top 100] or the one by Jane Powell on Verve [# 15 Top 100]. Much better Kallen choices would have been Go On With The Wedding [# 39 Top 100 in 1956 with Georgie Shaw's orchestra] or If I Give My Heart To You [# 34 Top 100 in 1959]. Another possibility was the # 10 Our Lady Of Fatima with Jimmy Carroll's orchestra in 1950.
Toni Arden's 1959 rendition of Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much) is not really associated with that decade (it wasn't even a hit), nor are her versions of Non Dimenticar and Without Love (There Is Nothing), which belong to Nat "King" Cole and Clyde McPhatter respectively. Padre, of course, was a # 13 Top 100 Decca hit in 1958 for this one-time band singer with the Al Trace and Joe Reichman bands. But in lieu of the other three our memory cells would have been better jogged with her versions of Are You Satisfied? [# 78 Top 100 in 1956], Too Young [# 15 Pop in 1951], and Kiss Of Fire [# 14 Pop in 1952]. And if they really wanted to include a tune that belonged more to Nat "King" Cole they might have chosen Too Young, which for Toni was at least a # 15 Pop in 1951.
Much the same applies to musical comedy star Sylvia Syms, discovered by Mae West in 1948 and once called "the world's greatest saloon singer" by Frank Sinatra. There's no doubt that I Could Have Danced All Night was the most memorable of the many 1956 recordings of that tune from My Fair Lady, reaching # 20 Top 100, but tracks 13, 14, and 16 activate none of my memories. At least, not by her. Now, had they included English Muffins And Irish Stew [# 21 Top 100 in 1956] and Dancing Chandelier [# 68 Top 100 in 1957] - neither of which are available anywhere in CD format - rather than two of those three, that alone would have raised this to a 5-star CD in my estimation.
The best grouping by far are the four tracks by Jane Morgan. Yes, tracks 9 and 10, her best, are among those to be found on numerous compilations, but not so when it comes to Two Different Worlds, a 1956 pairing with pianist Roger Williams which reached # 41 Top 100, and With Open Arms, a # 39 Top 100 in 1959.
With the insert you get a full page of background notes on each of the four artists written by Robert W. Rice, and on the back of the CD is a discography of the contents showing label details and chart performances. The sound quality is excellent."