1. Ich Bin Von Kopf Bis Fuss Auf Liebe Eingestellt (Falling In Love Again)
2. Blonde Women
3. Ich Bin Die Fesche Lola (I Am The Naughty Lola)
4. Kinder, Heut' Abend Such Ich Mir Was Aus (This Evening, Children)
5. Give Me The Man
7. Mein Blondes Baby
8. Allein In Einer Grossen Stadt
9. I've Been In Love Before
10. You've Got That Look That Leaves Me Weak
11. The Boys In The Back Room
12. You Go To My Head
13. You Do Something To Me
14. Lili Marlene
17. Schlittenfahrt (The Surrey With The Fringe On Top)
18. Ich Hab' Die Ganze Nacht Geweint (I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night)
19. Fraulein Annie Wohnt Schon Lange Nicht Hier (Annie Doesn t Live Here Anymore)
20. Sag' Mir "Adieu" (Time On My Hands)
21. Dass Ich Dich Wiederseh' (Taking A Chance On Love)
22. Sei Lieb Zu Mir (Mean To Me)
23. Mein Mann Ist Verhindert (Miss Otis Regrets)
24. Too Old To Cut The Mustard Duet With Rosemary Clooney
25. Falling In Love Again
Marlene Dietrich and various accompanists
rec. 1930-52 [77:34]
To the cries of 'Not another Dietrich compilation!' comes the answer-of-sorts; 'Well, why not?' Like Piaf, she has never gone out of fashion, even though Dietrich's stagey persona is less immediately likeable than that of her painfully autobiography French contemporary. That's as may be, but Retrospective has done a solid job, trawling discs from roughly two decades, from the Weimar cabaret of Friedrich Holländer and Peter Lauder to a 1952 duet with Rosemary Clooney and the days of comfortable celebrity.
The disc is topped and tailed by Falling in Love Again; the first in German from February 1930 and the second recorded in LA with Victor Young in 1939, the year she took American citizenship. The Weimar film and cabaret songs are imperishable components of the Dietrich Legend, from her husky English in Give Me The Man, through her parlando style in Mein Blondes Baby, recorded in Paris by the way in 1931, taking in her Lola and The Blue Angel.
During the session in LA with Young she also recorded I've Been In Love Before - in English of course - but it sounds almost self-parodic after the vitality of the German sides, indeed vampiric on her own self. It inaugurated a sometimes queasy relationship between singer and song, self and projection of self. Still, the classic recordings came rolling in; the music from the camp classic Destry Rides Again, The Boys in the Back Room, Lili Marlene (of course). Her limitations are shown when she tries on the Classic American Songbook for size. You Go To My Head is very ordinary; Billie Holiday would have hardly been inconvenienced by Dietrich's unidiomatic singing. In November 1951 she recorded more American standards with Jimmy Carroll and his orchestra, but this time in German, and the results are still rather patchy, though interesting to hear. Even Dietrich couldn't really co-opt these songs to her own histrionic style.
As ever shellac hiss has been dampened down in house style; I regret the slight lack of treble openness, but acknowledge the very 'present' sound of the early 30s sides. Otherwise the track selection is accomplished, though hardly novel, and Peter Dempsey's notes are good.