Great installment in this CD series
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 05/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Songs That Won The War, Vol. 5: A Wing & A Prayer is a solid installment in this CD series. The sound quality is really rather good considering the age of these recordings; and the artwork is very nicely done.
Harry James & His Orchestra do a wonderful job with the opening track, "I Don't Want To Walk Without You Baby." "I Don't Want To Walk Without You Baby" is a fine number that gets the royal treatment from Harry James and his band mates--terrific! Kay Kyser then follows with a period piece called "Praise The Lord & Pass The Ammunition;" I never heard this number before but it's really pretty good and the men harmonize to perfection. That's some great men's chorus!
Jo Stafford sings "There Are Such Things" with a lot of sensitivity and this amazes me; I always love it when I hear Jo Stafford sing! The melody is very pretty and the backup vocalists bolster Jo's performance very nicely. "There Are Such Things" is easily a major highlight of this album. In addition, there's Vera Lynn singing "The White Cliffs Of Dover;" many people loved this number during the dark days of World War Two and Vera Lynn delivers this ballad with panache--the woodwind instruments work wonders for the music that accompanies Vera as she does this one up right!
Lena Horne does a smash-up job on "You Don't Have To Know The Language;" this is another tune that is new to me. Lena sings this flawlessly--as she always did! Lena's voice is in excellent form and her voice is as clear as a bell--it's wonderful! "You Don't Have To Know The Language" also benefits from a jazzy arrangement that gives this tune a lot of positive energy. Moreover, The Andrews Sisters do "The Pennsylvania Polka" with lots more positive energy--and I love every minute of it! The Andrews were anything but elevator music; and they were justifiably very famous. Wow, how these sisters could harmonize and carry a tune!
"Comin' in On A Wing And A Prayer" is another number that was very popular during World War Two; Martha Raye sang this in the movie called Four Jills And A Jeep and here we have Anee Shelton singing this perfectly! The big band style arrangement enhances the natural optimistic beauty of this number and it all holds its own very well.
Jo Stafford With Paul Weston & His Orchestra also perform a sublime rendition of "I'll Be Seeing You;" this sentimental, nostalgic and beautiful love ballad tugs at my heartstrings whenever I hear it and Jo Stafford sings this without a superfluous note.
The CD ends with The Soviet Army Big Band From The Unknown War performing "The Allies March;" this is a powerful number and it makes just the right ending for this CD.
I recommend this CD for people who enjoy pop music from the era of World War Two; and people who like classic pop vocals will find much to like on this album as well.
Good but not great entry to series
Dannan Tavona | Salem, OR USA | 06/14/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Here is a list of the playlist as I found them on the CD:
01 - Harry James & His Orchestra with Helen Forrest - I Don't Want to Walk Without You, Baby
02 - Kay Kyser - Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
03 - Jo Stafford - There Are Such Things
04 - Rod McKuen - I Fall in Love Too Easily
05 - Vera Lynn - White Cliffs of Dover
06 - Soviet Army Chorus & Drum Corps - Katyuska / Toward the Unknown March
07 - Lena Horne - You Don't Have to Know the Language
08 - The Andrews Sisters - The Pennsylvania Polka
09 - Elton Britt - There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
10 - Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians - The Marine's Hymn
11 - Noel Coward - Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans
12 - Ambrose with Anne Shelton - Comin' in on a Wing and a Prayer
13 - Jo Stafford with Paul Weston & His Orchestra - I'll Be Seeing You
14 - The Soviet Army Big Band - The Allies March
This is the 5th entry in the series of 10 discs commemorating the songs of the war years.
While I have yet to obtain the 1st disc, to my knowledge, this is the only one that contains anything making reference to the Soviets and their participation in the war. While there were a few documentaries, to my knowledge, there was only one big-budget movie about the Soviets fighting the Nazis ('Days of Glory' - 1944), and by the end of the war, were trying to distance themselves from their ally for the post-war rivalry.
Along with entries by Jo Stafford, Vera Lynn, and Helen Forrest are a quirky song by Noel Coward. Some of these songs are not among my own favorites, but the propoganda songs were a part of the song-lists from those days, so it is good they were included, too."