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HELEN FORREST I’ve Heard That Song Before

Centenary Tribute- Her 25 Finest 1938-1945

RETROSPECTIVE RTR 4302

 

 

 

Thanks for Everything

Deep in a Dream

They Say

I Poured My Heart into a Song

Comes Love

Melancholy Mood

All the Things You Are

How High Is the Moon

I Can't Love You Any More

Taking a Chance on Love

I Don't Want to Walk Without You

He's My Guy

I Heard You Cried Last Night

Manhattan Serenade

I Had the Craziest Dream

Mister Five-by-Five

I've Heard That Song Before

Long Ago and Far Away

Time Waits for No One

It Had to Be You

Together

I'll Buy That Dream

Some Sunday Morning

I'm Always Chasing Rainbows

Oh, What It Seemed to Be!

Helen Forrest with Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Victor Young, Earle Hagen, Toots Camarata and their orchestras, and with duets with Dick Haymes

Recorded 1938-45

 

Retrospective is building up a boutique selection of singers whose heyday was the 1930s and 40s. Helen Ward is a case in point and Dick Haymes, who duets in some tracks with the subject of this latest disc, Helen Forrest, is also represented in the series. A versatile Big Band songstress, Forrest moved easily, though sometimes to pecuniary disadvantage, between the leading bands of the time. The earliest tracks here are with Artie Shaw in 1938 but when he quixotically disbanded Forrest was forced to contact his rival and fellow clarinettist, Benny Goodman, who snapped her up at a reduced fee.

Her light, youthful and easy delivery can be savoured in these tracks. Her diction is also first class throughout. It’s an added pleasure to hear Shaw’s biting clarinet solos and Georgie Auld’s occasional tenor solos for Shaw. Irving Berlin’s typically witty lyrics grace I Poured My Heart Into A Song whilst Forrest’s elegant but honest intimacy irradiates All The Things You Are. Goodman had a raft of outstanding soloist at this time – the roll call ran from Ziggy Elman and Cootie Williams to Charlie Christian via Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity, Jerry Jerome and Auld, a refugee, like Forrest, from the disbanded Shaw band.

Forrest left Goodman and joined Harry James in 1941. Her singing is a fitting riposte to the trumpet’s bravura solo on I Don't Want to Walk Without You and she manages to be confiding without in any way courting the cloying inI Heard You Cried Last Night. The copy used to transfer Manhattan Serenade sounds rather scruffy but there’s a lush string section on board which might turn things. In her duets with Haymes, which were backed by Toots Camarata, Victor Young and Earle Hagen and their orchestras, Forrest’s vibrato is kept under perfect control and her charmingly deft portamentos are splendidly gauged. Haymes remains suave and languorous when necessary.

Peter Dempsey’s notes tell you all you need to know and the transfers are pretty good.

Jonathan Woolf


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