Ella Fitzgerald sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook
Ella is in fine voice here and the accompaniments by Nelson Riddle are excellent. My main disappointment is that they were only able to put 12 tunes on the CD, as for the 1964 LP. By now (1997) the technology would have allowed for additional tracks but I guess in this instance they didn't record any extras.
Mercer was a prolific lyricist - and an occasional songsmith. Most of the tracks here are `standards' with one or two rarities like `Travellin' light' and `Single O'. Mercer, who died in 1976, wrote over 1000 lyrics for many different songwriters, and a few tunes (like `Dream', recorded here) himself. He was one of the three founders of Capitol Records and having their recording artists singing and playing his songs didn't do his songwriting career any harm either.
Mercer was born in the deep South and struck up a friendship with `Hoagy' Carmichael early on. Together they produced `Skylark', recorded here. Ella also records a few numbers that were originally big band numbers to which Mercer put words: Ralph Burns' `Early autumn' for Woody Herman; Sonny Burke and Lionel Hampton's 1947 tune `Midnight sun' to which Mercer added lyrics in 1954. Victor Scherzinger's `I remember you' , which was such a big if only short-lived hit for Frank Ifield is here; as is David Raksin's enchanting theme music for the thriller `Laura'.
Somewhat limited selection aside, this is an excellent CD and Nelson Riddle of course never fails to delight with the accompaniments.