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Jessie Matthews – Over My Shoulder

Jessie Matthews with accompanists
rec. 1927-42

LIVING ERA CD AJA 5663 [77:24]

 

 


By The Fireside
Dancing On The Ceiling
Everything's In Rhythm With My Heart
Gangway
Got To Dance My Way To Heaven
Head Over Heels In Love
I Can Wiggle My Ears
I Nearly Let Love Go Slipping Through My Fingers
I'll Stay With You
It's Love Again
Let Me Give My Happiness To You
Look For The Silver Lining
Looking Around Corners For You
Lord And Lady Whoozis
May I Have The Next Romance With You?
My Heart Stood Still
One Little Kiss From You
One More Kiss And Then Goodnight
Souvenir Of Love
Three Wishes
Tinkle, Tinkle, Tinkle / Over My Shoulder
Tony's In Town
When You've Got A Little Springtime In Your Heart
Whip-Poor-Will

 

Living Era has already released discs devoted to Gertrude Lawrence, Gracie Fields and Evelyn Lane so a selection of Jessie Matthews’s recordings was a racing certainty. And so here is a decade and a half’s worth of her discs.

A number of fine bands keep her company – Carroll Gibbons principally in the earlier sides but also Fred Hartley, Louis Levy, Jay Wilbur and Debroy Somers. Hutch is at the piano for the first number where Matthews sounds a little arch, singing "mo-ment" for "moment" in rather over-authentically period style. It’s actually a feature of her singing how much more naturally she phrases as the 30s give way to the forties and indeed how much stronger the voice becomes, and how her vocal range widened appreciably. She was a better singer in the early forties than in the later twenties.

Some songs suit her voice and projection better than others. Ray Noble’s By the Fireside is certainly her kind of song and she has the advantage of Gibbons’s band. One wonders who the violin solo is by in the two man fiddle section – Hugo Rignold, the future conductor, or Reg Leopold, the future Light Music Maestro. It was almost certainly not Ben(jamin) Frankel, future composer, who whilst he was plying his violin trade with dance bands wasn’t in the Gibbons band in 1932.

There is some Matthews tap dancing in Tony's In Town and plenty of variety elsewhere. Occasionally one or two of the songs push her ungratefully high but in the main she sounds accomplished and within the idiom. Many of the songs derive from popular films of the time – Gangway, Sailing Along, The Midshipmaid, and There Goes The Bride amongst them. And some come from stage shows – Wild Rose opened in 1942 for instance. She remains throughout a delightful presence – and of course we have Over My Shoulder and Look For The Silver Lining – no disc of this sort could possibly proceed without them.

Jonathan Woolf

 



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