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My Blue Heaven - Hits of 1927
Featuring: Gertrude Lawrence, Paul Whiteman, Cliff Edwards, Sophie Tucker, Gene Austin, Ruth Etting, Red Nichols, Whispering Jack Smith and others.
Full track-listing at the foot of this review
RETROSPECTIVE RTR 4232 [78:00]

These Retrospective releases become ever more classified as ‘historical/vintage’ as the years roll by and fewer and fewer contemporary fans remain with us. Judging by these 25 tracks, 1927 was a rich year indeed for popular music.
 
The album commences with ‘My Blue Heaven’. Gene Austin’s relaxed style made him a big favourite at the time. This rendition gives him an intimate piano and cello accompaniment. The song came from Ziegfeld Follies of 1927. Gene is also featured on this album with Nat Silkret and his Orchestra in another massive 1927 hit, ‘Ain’t She Sweet?’
 
Paul Whiteman, the self-styled King of Jazz, was the dominant bandleader of this time. He and his Orchestra are represented by three tracks including ‘Here I am Broken-Hearted’ that features trumpeter Red Nichols and the alto-saxophone of Jimmy Dorsey. They also give us the concluding number of this concert - a splendid extended 4+minute treatment of ‘When Day is Done’. It’s treacly romantic, but so what? 
Torch singer, Ruth Etting known as "America's sweetheart of song" was portrayed by Doris Day in the 1955 film Love Me or Leave Me. On this disc, Etting sings three numbers including ‘Deed I Do’. Then, further along, she sings about how her lover determines her moods in the number one song hit ‘It All Depends on You’.
 
The larger-than-life Sophie Tucker, the “Red Hot Mama” tells her lover she is going to miss her huggin’ in ‘Some of These Days’. It’s a really swinging jazz number. Contrastingly sweet-and-demure-voiced Gertrude Lawrence sings George Gershwin’s unforgettable classic, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’. It came from Gershwin’s show Oh, Kay in which Larwrence starred.
 
There is so much to enjoy here and I must include Guy Lombardo’s saccharine ‘nasally-inflected’ reading of the number 1 hit ‘Charmaine’.
 
All these favourites are supported by less familiar pieces and artists such as George Olsen’s rendition of ‘The Varsity Drag’ and Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians’ ‘It Made You Happy When You Made Me Cry’.  

Ian Lace 

Previous review: Göran Forsling

Track Listing
(All selections recorded in either 1926 or 1927):  
‘My Blue Heaven’ - sung by Gene Austin
‘In A Little Spanish Town’ - played by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
‘Sunday’ - sung by Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards
‘All Alone Monday’ - with Nat Shilkret and the Victor orchestra with Johnny Marvin (vocal)
‘’Deed I do’ - sung by Ruth Etting
‘It Made You Happy When You Made Me Cry’ - Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians
‘Some of These Days’ - sung by Sophie Tucker
‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ - sung by Gene Austin
‘I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover’ - Nick Lucas (vocal and guitar)
‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ - sung by Gertrude Lawrence
‘The Varsity Drag’ - George Olsen and his Music with Fran Frey (vocalist)
‘Russian Lullaby’ - - waltz Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Orchestra
‘It All Depends On You’ - sung by Ruth Etting
‘Me and My Shadow’ - Whispering Jack Smith
‘Here I Am, Broken-Hearted’ - Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra
‘Charmaine!’ - Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians
‘Miss Annabelle Lee’ - Ben Selvin
‘Side by Side’ - Nick Lucas (vocal and guitar)
‘Ain’t She Sweet’ - sung by Gene Austin
‘Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider’ - Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
‘Sam, the Old Accordion Man’ - Ruth Etting
‘Hallelujah’ - Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra with Franklyn Baur (vocal)
‘Blue Skies’ - Johnny Marvin (vocal and steel guitar)
‘At Sundown’ - George Olsen and His Music
‘When Day is Done’ - Paul Whiteman and his Concert Orchestra  

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