Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook
Out of some 1500 tunes for which Berlin composed both words and music, only about 10% are frequent visitors to the concert or CD repertoire. Well, we have 32 of them here, sung by Ella to the arrangements and accompaniment of the Paul Weston Orchestra. Most of the tunes on the double CD disc are taken from shows or films that Berlin scored (often for Fred Astaire), though a couple did see the light of day in Tin Pan Alley.
Many of the `standards' are here: `Let's face the music and dance', `Cheek to cheek', `Change partners', `Reaching for the moon', and so on. The Tin Pan Alley tunes include his first hit, `Alexander's ragtime band', the `Russian lullaby', and the perennial favourite, `Always'.
Berlin had a somewhat difficult early love life. His first wife, Dorothy Goetz, died shortly after their honeymoon in Cuba in 1912: the cathartic `When I lost you' that he composed at the time isn't included here. But `All by myself' from a 1921 revue is. He also had a difficult time courting his second wife because she was the heiress of an electric distributing system magnate who was a Catholic and didn't think a popular Jewish immigrant tunesmith was good enough for his daughter. These difficulties are reflected in some of Berlin's songs of the time. [Others appear on Sinatra's All Alone CD].
The wistful `Suppertime' is also featured here. It comes from the 1933 show (revue) As Thousands Cheer portraying scenes based on national newspaper headlines, a revue that also gave us `Easter parade' and `Heat wave'. `Suppertime' is a black American woman's lament for her lynched husband.
This double CD is an attractive package that will appeal to any Berlin or Ella Fitzgerald fans.All AloneElla Fitzgerald Sings The Rodgers And Hart SongbookSings the Cole Porter Songbook (2CD)