Monday, 23 January 2012

The Best of Al Bowlly [music]

The original crooner, and one of the first singers to be a draw in his own right, Al Bowlly has largely been forgotten today, but if you mention him to a vintage lover they’re sure to nod approvingly.

This is a collection of some of Bowlly’s biggest hits. Although he started working in the 1920s and died in the 1940s (killed by a bomb in the Blitz), all the recordings are from the 1930s, and to me they’re quintessentially 1930s: smooth, sentimental, and as good to dance to as they are to listen to. 'Love is the Sweetest Thing' was the song I was most familiar with before getting this disc, but 'The Very Thought of You', 'Got a Date with an Angel' and 'I'm Thru With Love' are my favourites. (You may remember Marilyn Monroe singing the latter in Some Like It Hot.)

There is a bit of crackle on some of the tracks on this CD, but I didn’t mind that. It made me think of art deco radiograms, and that’s never a bad thing in my book.

I'm not sure how much people unfamiliar with the music of the 1930s will like this collection. 1920s jazz and 1940s swing both have a rhythm that's appealing, a toe-tapping attraction. This doesn't have that, and it may well be an acquired taste for newcomers to vintage music. Certainly the 1930s was harder for me to get to grips with than either the 20s or 40s. Songs of the era can be guilty of schmaltz (although it has to be said that Bowlly stays on the right side of the sweet/ saccharine divide.) Stick with this CD, even if you aren't sure about it at first, and you'll find it perfect for lazy Sundays and afternoons with a book.

CD source: either a gift or a charity shop purchase, can’t remember, but paid for in some way, certainly.

2 comments :

  1. Oooh, I downloaded a Best of Al Bowlly to listen to when I was working on A Stitch in Time 2. I themed my music to the patterns I was working on. I love this album, and haven't stopped listening to it! :-)

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  2. Ahh I do Love Al Bowlly! I will definitely have to track down this album! :)

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