Music Webmaster Len Mullenger




EDITOR’S CHOICE – CD of the Month July 1999


The music of George and Ira GERSHWIN, IRVING BERLIN; JEROME KERN and COLE PORTER for:-
FRED ASTAIRE (1899-1987) - Let's face the Music and Dance -
A centenary celebration. ASV CD AJA 5123 [77:52] Original Historic Mono Recordings




Irving Berlin: Let's face the music and dance; I'm putting all my eggs in one basket; Cheek to cheek; No strings; Top hat, white tie and tails; I used to be colour blind; The Yam; Change Partners.

George and Ira Gershwin: They all laughed; A foggy day; Nice work if you can get it; They can't take that away from me; Things are looking up; Let's call the whole thing off; Shall we dance; I can't be bothered now; Slap that bass; (I've got) Beginner's luck.

Jerome Kern: The way you look tonight; Pick yourself up; Never gonna dance; A fine romance; Dearly Beloved; You were never lovelier; I'm old fashioned.

Bernard Hanighen: Poor Mr Chisholm

Cole Porter: Since I kissed my baby goodbye.

Yes, it's 100 years since the birth of Fred Astaire. ASV's generous helping of the songs he made his own is therefore highly appropriate and makes this album self-selecting as my Editor's Choice of the month.

Everybody remembers Fred's grace on the dance floor through countless Hollywood musicals partnered by lovely ladies like Eleanor Parker, Rita Hayworth, Cyd Charisse, Audrey Hepburn and so many others. However it is his partnership with Ginger Rogers through that sparkling series of 1930s RKO musicals for which he is best remembered. And the music for those wonderful films was very special too and delivered in Fred's special eloquent laid-back style. As Peter Gammond says in his CD booklet notes, "He was a singer; a modest singer, some might say, by technical standards; but regarded by many, notably by the composers whose songs he sung, as a true craftsman of the art of putting over a popular lyric. He had songs written specially written for him by such illustrious composers as Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin, and all of them expressed their pleasure in the way he sang them.

I have listed all the songs in this collection above. The bulk of them are immediately recognisable as having been featured in those RKO musicals: Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, A Damsel in Distress and Carefree. With Fred's move away from RKO we have two numbers from the 1942 Columbia film You Were Never Lovelier.

I need add nothing further, the inimitable Fred says it all. Enjoy.


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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