"Out of all the seven box sets Mercury issued on Dinah Washington, this one is the best and I own four of the box sets. Dinah peaked as an artist during the mid to late 1950s, which is when this box set covers her songs. Dinah's often been bashed (unfairly) in the music press for going "pop" after the huge success of her 1959 single, "What A Difference A Day Makes", which was done in a violin and string-saturated style not uncommon for its time, but critics who watched and listened to Dinah over the years as a blues and jazz artist felt betrayed. Though Dinah's fans mostly loved whatever she recorded, the critics gave her grief. This box set covers Dinah's last great jazz and blues recordings right before she hit "the big time" and went totally pop afterwards. Unlike the 2 box sets which come after this one, these arrangements still show Dinah in a bluesy-jazzy vein. The songs are a well-chosen lot (Dinah and her producers always had exquisite taste) and she sings the hell outta most of these selections, belting out a song that reminded many of Bessie Smith and yet capable of switching gears to a jazzy chanteuse mode in others. She does no wrong in almost every track. Even on a standard such as Gershwin's "Our Love Is Here to Stay", which was covered by just about every artist, is given new life by Dinah, who gives it a punch that others somehow missed. What a versatile artist she was, always bringing out the essence of each song, even if it meant exposing them in a raw, emotional light, but that was what separated her from the other gal singers. And this was not simply just a gal, Dinah was a wise, no nonsense mama, always putting her man in his place. We love her for it!"
Definitely "Complete" with Great Sound Quality
KC | Northern CA | 09/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the great singers of the 20th century. This series is definitely COMPLETE with excellent sound quality considering many of these tracks are over 40-60 years old.
It's a bit over-whelming with casual fans as each disc in the series has up to 70 tracks ... but she never phones any performance and offers her unique interpretation on each track, you'll find something to like in everything but they are slightly different.
VOLUME 4: Offers Dinah Washington more bluesy and jazz swing vocals.
VOLUME 5: More mainstream swing, some brilliant torch tracks and the beginning her ballads period.
VOLUME 6: Her ballads period including her standards-setting interpretation of MANHATTEN and WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES (of course, I could list another 20 :-)
VOLUME 7: A new phase in her career where they seem to add a lot of strings and backup singers but not necessarily making her recordings better. Of the recordings on these discs, some are remade with more strings and backup singers - softening them and making them a little more pop and a little less jazz. Whether you consider that an improvement or not is your call.
Personally, I believe Dinah Washington;'s strength are doing sparse ballads - her voice range, timber and her performances somewhere between Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald ... she's not quite as haunted as Billie Holliday but without the range of Ella.
My personal favorite is Volume 6 with its mostly ballads and her standard setting vocals.
Really shows dinah at teh peak of her career!
Brian L. Hart | 12/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"thisb 3 cdset contains many of dinah's besyt tracks made between 1956 and 1958.tthe arrangments are well prepared, even on some traxcks, dinah is acconmpan9iced by a choir. if you are a really big fan of dinah's, youll rea;lluy want this one. a rea;l taste of dinah's peak years at jazz/blues singing even if you are not a dinah wfan or are just starting yto get interesrted in her songs, then this set is thet key."
The Dynamic Dinah...
Brian L. Hart | 08/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a serious Dinah Washington fan, this Seven Volume Set [21 CDs], says it all. It covers all of her Mercury Recordings from 1946-1961. This set is one of the seven volumes that is out of print. I have 'em all. No one even comes close to her, she was unique. I use her music on a regular basis on my radio show.