Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Chart Toppers of the Thirties [CD]
This CD is a collection of songs that were massive hits in the 1930s. Al Bowlly popularised 'crooning', a smooth singing style, in that decade, though Bing Crosby is probably the best-known exponent. Here you can hear the former singing 'Love is the Sweetest Thing' and 'The Isle of Capri', and the latter performing 'Pennies From Heaven'. Ella Fitzgerald's 'A-Tisket, A-Tasket' isn't my favourite Ella track, but does work alongside the others on the CD. One of the biggest names in the jazz era, Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, contribute 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes'. Some still-famous swing bandleaders and their bands also feature: Benny Goodman, is on here with 'The Glory of Love', sung by Helen Ward, and Tommy Dorsey with 'Music, Maestro, Please'. Of course, the disc contains some wonderful songs from the movies. From Fred Astaire, King of the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals, there's 'Night and Day', 'The Way You Look Tonight' and 'Cheek to Cheek'.
I tend to listen to this album on lazy days at home, or days at work when I need something that's enjoyable yet not too fast and energetic, so it will carry me through a steady pile of work. If I had a criticism, it's that sometimes the music is so slick it slides into the background and can be ignored. Listening rarely gets so easy.
While the collection is available as a download from Amazon, you can get it dead cheap on eBay. I've had my copy for years and can't remember where I got it, but the most likely sources are either a gift from Mr Robot or a purchase from the now-closed greatest music store I've ever set foot in, Duck, Son and Pinker. I haven't thought about that shop for ages, but now I recall it I wish so much that it was still around. In recent years, the number of places where I can go to browse CDs and DVDs seems to have dwindled to almost nothing. Local shops - use 'em or lose 'em, people!