October 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Curio Corner

Lena Horne – the young star  
  BLUEBIRD 09026 63964 2   [44:23]

Lena Horne

Lena Horne appeared in a number of films most notably in 1940s musicals including: Stormy Weather, Cabin in the Sky, Thousands Cheer, Brioadway Rhythm, Ziegfield Follies and Till the Clouds Roll By. She has been quoted a saying "In my early days I was a sepia Hedy Lamarr. Now I'm black and a woman, singing my way.'

Lena's so personal, intimate style, immaculate control (just listen to those long-held satin-smooth chords), enunciation and sultrily expressive singing has maintained her position in a career that has spanned some 64 years from 1936 to 2000. In probably her most famous number, 'Stormy weather' (featured in the 1943 film of the same name), she wails 'can't go on everything I had is gone --- stormy weather keeps rainin' all the time' while the evocative backing vividly emulates driving winds stinging rain, abrasive jeering brass chords. The backing on all these numbers is of a consistently high quality, all imaginative and colourful. In Cole Porter's 'What is this thing called love?' Lena muses plaintively, "Who can solve its mystery and why should it make a fool of me'. These are just the two opening numbers in this wonderful Bluebird collection of numbers recorded early in her career – arguably when she was at the peak of her career – 1941-44. All are jewels; they include: 'Mad About the Boy'; 'Where or When' ("It seems that we've stood and talked like this before…"); 'The Man Love'; 'One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)' and 'I'll Be Around'.

Ian Lace

****

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