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THE FABULOUS FIFTIES
Hits of 1952 - Here In My Heart

27 original recordings by original artists
Compiled by Ray Crick.
Transfers by Peter Dempsey and David Lennick

LIVING ERA CD AJA 5452
[77.22]

 

 

Crotchet Budget price



  1. INDIAN LOVE CALL Ė Slim Whitman
  2. SLOW POKE Ė Pee Wee King
  3. TELL ME WHY Ė The Four Aces
  4. THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE Ė Kay Starr
  5. THE BLACKSMITH BLUES Ė Ella Mae Morse
  6. BLUE TANGO Ė Leroy Anderson
  7. ANY TIME Ė Eddie Fisher
  8. A GUY IS A GUY Ė Doris Day
  9. PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA Ė Guy Mitchell
  10. THE KISS OF FIRE Ė Georgia Gibbs
  11. HERE IN MY HEART Ė Al Martino
  12. DELICADO Ė Percy Faith
  13. WALKINí MY BABY BACK HOME Ė Johnnie Ray
  14. LOVER Ė Peggy Lee
  15. HALF AS MUCH Ė Rosemary Clooney
  16. SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY Ė Nat King Cole
  17. SUGARBUSH Ė Doris Day and Frankie Laine
  18. WISH YOU WERE HERE Ė Eddie Fisher
  19. YOU BELONG TO ME Ė Jo Stafford
  20. HIGH NOON (Do Not Forsake Me) Ė Frankie Laine
  21. I WENT TO YOUR WEDDING Ė Patti Paige
  22. MEET MISTER CALLAGHAN Ė Les Paul
  23. JAMBALAYA Ė Hank Williams
  24. LADY OF SPAIN Ė Eddie Fisher
  25. WHY DONíT YOU BELIEVE ME Ė Joni James
  26. THE GLOW WORM Ė The Mills Brothers
  27. AUF WIEDERSEHíN, SWEETHEART Ė Vera Lynn

In spite of a certain restlessness in the world seven years after the end of the war, great records were being made, as this CD of 1952 hits proves. Here is a typical pot-pourri of songs and music from different artists in their individual styles. A little like the liquorice "Allsorts" you used to buy then and, like them, some you prefer to others

The earliest recording here was made in Chicago in April 1951. Itís "Slow Poke" by Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys. Pee Wee first joined Gene Autryís show and then when Autry went to Hollywood in 1936 King took over his band, renaming it "The Golden West Cowboys" making it one of the most popular bands in the Western swing style appearing on The Grand Ole Opry. I listened with interest as the song slowly started. The first sound is a clock which ticks away right the way through this lively ditty as vocalist Redd Stewart clearly tells you he is waiting for someone and, as the hours slowly tick away, he decides to be a "Slow Poke" too. Itís a catchy number and I think you will like it.

The recording of "Blue Tango" by Leroy Anderson and his Pops Orchestra was made in June 1951 in New York. This is music ideal for doing exactly what the title says. Think of a big ballroom and gliding around in someoneís arms dancing the tango. What a pity a dance such as this is hardly ever performed now. However, the music is well worth listening to and you will hear how excellently the Orchestra plays, softly and sensuously, just as a tango should be. I loved it.

"Tell Me Why" is sung in perfect harmony by The Four Aces and recorded in New York in October 1951. They were regarded as real heartthrobs at that time and thatís not surprising after hearing this song in which they are in close harmony with some panache and style thrown in. This was a million-seller and rightly so. There was a British vocal quartet of this name but the more famous quartet was the American. I have heard this recording over the years and have always liked how the group manages to harmonise so well as they ask why they are still feeling as they do. I suppose itís not a great song, but I like it because of the excellence of the performance.

In that same month Eddie Fisher recorded "Any Time" in his very appealing tenor voice so itís not surprising this too was a million-seller. Fisher was especially good with show tunes and in this one he sings a revival of a song from 1921. He is accompanied by Hugo Winterhalter and his Orchestra and he tells someone that any time they are feeling lonesome and blue they will know he is thinking of them. I do wonder which special someone Eddie meant, of course. He was another heartthrob and he married three times. (This is also a number our own Des OíConnor recorded which proves that it has survived down the years.) There is another Eddie Fisher recording on this disc to underline what a great voice he had for making you believe every word he sings. In "Wish You Were Here", recorded in New York in May 1952, he sings with such pathos that you have no choice but to believe every word. A hard singer to follow for the kind of numbers he chose. Eddieís third song on this disc is "Lady of Spain", again with Hugo Winterhalter. Many will know and enjoy this revival of a 1931 Tolchard Evans standard and it became a hit all over again that year for Fisher. The Orchestra is really superb here and you hear how the various instruments change at different times when the words of the song merit it. I was delighted to hear this one again. Just close your eyes and imagine Eddie singing to a sultry eyed lovely "Lady of Spain". So put the light out you men, and listen. This is what we girls like.

Iím not so sure about "Blacksmith Blues" made in Los Angeles in December 1951. This is sung by Ella Mae Morse who was a jazz-oriented singer who fell between pure jazz and pop. She sang with several American bands and then retired but she came back and scored a No 3 hit with this number. Nelson Riddle, no less, accompanies and his orchestra plays a long introduction before Ella sings. When Ella pauses the band continues to play the same theme but they vary the tempo effectively, a touch that makes the recording worth listening to. I found it difficult to understand exactly what Ella was telling me, but perhaps the title of the song should have done that.

I quickly livened up when I heard Guy Mitchell singing "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania", recorded in New York January l952 and accompanied by Mitch Miller and his Orchestra and Chorus. I was always a big fan of Guy Mitchell. I think all his recordings have something special about them and I donít think itís any surprise he had so many hits. He has never lost that appeal to many people, although it's true there were some who disliked him. Was it because they were aware Frank Sinatra refused to record some of these particular songs of Mitch Millerís and when they knew Mitchell was singing them decided they couldnít be any good if Sinatra refused them? Or was it that they would have disliked them who ever sang them? For example, in "My Truly Truly Fair" (not on this disc) perhaps there is a certain jolly vulgarity in the words, but what a narrow way of looking at music and singers in general that would be. Surely the proof of how good Guy and his songs were is in the number of hits he had with them. Sinatra had his hits too, many more than Mitchell, but he knew the songs that suited him best and so did Mitchell. There did come a time when it was said that Guy Mitchellís era was over. But strangely it was at that point where he had his biggest hit of all and his first Number One with "Heartaches by the Number" and "Singing The Blues" which I expect to see in the 1959 disc in this series.

I was somewhat disappointed with Kay Starrís recording of "The Wheel of Fortune" with Harold Mooney and his orchestra. I always thought Kay was an acquired taste and after hearing this I am still of that opinion. She began as a country singer but gradually her voice became a mixture of swing and country. I listened intently to "The Wheel of Fortune" and liked how Mooney and the orchestra accompanied her. They needed to speed the tempo up just a little to keep with her too, especially when her voice took on a "brassy twang". However I could hear the words, and even the wheel going round on the revolving disc of the Roulette as she tells of her bid to win a fortune. But she was a favourite with many people and her records were popular at that time, though not for me.

Who can resist the voice of Nat King Cole, especially as he sings here "Somewhere Along The Way"? I certainly canít. He is accompanied perfectly by Nelson Riddle and his orchestra and this is a really lovely song that Nat sings softly and in what I felt a very confiding way. How one day he will meet along the avenue the special someone he thinks about when he is alone at night. Perfect.

"Walkiní My Baby Back Homeí was recorded by Johnnie Ray in February 1952 in Hollywood. Unlike Guy Mitchell, Johnnie Ray was never a favourite of mine. I never liked the "crying" edge to his voice that made his name and I am not alone. He sings this song very clearly, but I have never thought he sang with much deep feeling. He had a number of hits, though, and became incredibly popular both sides of the Atlantic.

In February 1952 that vivacious, versatile singer and actress Doris Day recorded "Sugar Bush" with Frankie Lane. The end product is a perfect combination with the hand clapping just loud enough to be heard and coming in exactly where it should. I canít imagine anyone not liking this song. Itís the kind of song that, once you hear it, will stay in your mind and cheer you up even the gloomiest mood. Around the same time Doris recorded "A Guy Is A Guy", a parody of the old English tune "I went to the Alehouse" which she sings in her own inimitable, chirpy style. This too was a hit and both these records with Doris Dayís are a great tonic. We hear Frankie Laine alone in his recording of "Do Not Forsake Me" made in New York in May 1952. This, of course, is the theme song from Fred Zinnemannís movie "High Noon" with Gary Cooper. Itís impossible to fault any of Frankie Laineís records. He sings everything with such aplomb and you still find yourself humming.

It was with reservations that I saw the track "Delicado" from Percy Faith and his Orchestra recorded in New York in March 1952. What a shock when I heard what a delightful, melodious piece it was, originally written by Walder Azeveda but given the Percy Faith treatment. The instrumentalists in the band, especially Stan Freeman on the harpsichord, make this really special. I loved it and found myself waving my arms about in time to the music - a lively mixture with the sounds of all the different instruments making themselves heard superbly in this arrangement. Percy Faith was the ex-NBC Radio conductor who as Musical Director of Columbia records during the early 1950s. He recorded several albums of mood music and backed three of Tony Bennettís Golden Discís.

In Chicago early in 1952 Georgia Gibbs recorded "The Kiss of Fire" with Glenn Osser and his Orchestra. I have to admit I had never heard of this singer before and so was anxious to hear her now. I like the evocative rhythm of the song, but at first I couldnít decide if I liked the singer herself. After hearing it twice more I began to appreciate why it had been a hit. The song was adapted from an Argentine tango called "El choclo" and Georgiaís voice is exactly right for it and I can even imagine her swinging in time to the music.

Recorded in New York we have "Here In My Heart" sung beautifully by the bricklayer turned club singer Al Martino. My immediate reaction was "Oh yes I like this", and from then on I went into a trance, carried away by Alís velvety voice as he really sings this from his heart. This was his first hit and it topped the charts both sides of the Atlantic becoming the first ever British chart No 1. How could it not have been with a voice like this?

From April 1952 comes the great Peggy Lee singing "Lover" with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and Chorus. In spite of Peggy Leeís accomplishments, when I first heard this recording I had reservations and I canít say after listening several times it did much for me. Was it because the orchestra nearly blanks her out, or it could just be the song itself? I have heard this sung over the years by many people and I remember it always sung slower and softer than this so this, for me, is one of the few disappointments on the disc.

I did listen with great enjoyment to the much lesser known "Meet Mister Callaghan", recorded in Los Angeles mid 1952 as an instrumental by Les Paul with guitars. Itís short, but what there is of it is full of lively and cheerful sound. The guitars are very much in evidence, I assure you and I think you will enjoy this brief, enjoyable interludes.

I was, however, as always disappointed with Slim Whitmanís version of "Indian Love Call" from "Rose Marie". Perhaps Iím too familiar with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddie in this but I just cannot take to Whitmanís yodel in this song. To me it always sounds wrong. Not a plaintive call as I think it should be. Itís pleasant enough but itís lost that touch of romance it should have. However, Whitman scored a hit and went on to have many more.

I do love the recording of "Jambalaya " from Hank Williams and his Drifting Cowboys with Chet Atkins on guitar. This was made in Nashville in June 1952 and even though the words are not always clear the swinging style of Williams and his cowboys was enough to keep me enjoying without bothering with the words at .all. Many will know the recording from the 1970s by The Carpenters but this is the real thing

Also from June 1952 Jo Stafford sings "You Belong To Me", recorded in Hollywood. Itís a pleasant song, not particularly different to so many of this type, but I found it easy to listen to and enjoyed Joís singing in a song that I think suits her voice well. She is accompanied by Columbiaís music-director Paul Western who she had married by then, helping her progress on records. This song became a big seller.

This 1952 version of "I Went To Your Wedding" was made in the August. Like many people, Iíve always associated this song through its "send-up" by Spike Jones and His City Slickers, so I was surprised to hear it sung straight by Patti Page with an orchestra conducted by Jack Rael - the way it should be heard. I had never heard this singer before and I like her voice which is clear and strong without in any way sounding harsh and you are left in no doubt of what she is telling you. Also from August 1952 we have "Why Donít You Believe Me?" recorded in Chicago with Lew Douglas and his Orchestra and his singer Joni James. A pleasant song, not one I had heard before, and not one to have survived down the years, but Joni James has a pleasant voice though I doubt this number will linger. Odd that it became a hit, I think.

I have purposely left one song to the last because itís the only one on this disc to have been recorded in London. Itís our very own Vera Lynn with soldiers, sailors and airman singing the wartime tearjerker "Auf Wiedersehín Sweetheart". Not having heard this particular recording of the song before I thought I detected a note of triumph in this rendering by Vera and the servicemen. It was as though they were saying: We told you we would meet again, and we have.

Itís thanks again to Living Era for their excellent transfers of 78rpm records to CD. This is the third of this labelís "Hits of the 1950s". Like the other two this is a wide-ranging assortment of music and singers but there is something to enjoy in each one, so I recommend it for that reason. Of course you may like one number more than another, but even the ones that perhaps are not to your liking you will find pleasant enough. After all, in an assortment of anything, every one of us has their favourites, donít they?

Joan Duggan

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