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The Best Of The Song Books: The Ballads


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Music

Image of album by Ella Fitzgerald

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Image of Ella Fitzgerald

Biography

Of all the critiques that have been written about Ella Fitzgerald, East Coast music critic Tony Mastrianni’s perhaps best defined her very special song stylings. “In the case of Ella Fitzgerald you have something unique. There continues to be no one like her, no one who uses a voice so completely like a musical instrument. . . . She can stray from the melody, sing around it, and ... Read more in Amazon's Ella Fitzgerald Store

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Frequently Bought Together

The Best Of The Song Books: The Ballads + The Best Of The Song Books + Ella & Louis Together
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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Aug 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Classics
  • ASIN: B0000046U6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,819 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Oh, Lady Be Good 4:04£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. I'm Old Fashioned 3:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Laura 3:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Day Dream 4:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Easy To Love 3:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. It Was Written In The Stars 5:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. How Long Has This Been Going On? 3:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Let's Begin 3:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Now It Can Be Told 3:12£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. There's A Small Hotel 2:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me 7:43Album Only
Listen12. Ill Wind (You're Blowin' Me No Good) 3:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. You're Laughing At Me 3:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. A Ship Without A Sail 4:10£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Trav'lin Light 3:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen16. This Time The Dream's On Me 4:35£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr on 1 Mar 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The song book series is fabulous I had them all on vynyl but over the years they have become miss-placed, if you love Ella you will adore the whole series - Buy.
Bye.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Hunter VINE VOICE on 29 July 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's Ella covering some classic songs. There is no margin for a bad performance and therefore this is as close to perfect as you can get!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A good place to start 18 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is the first cd I ever bought of Ella. I was doing a musical tour of great singers and decided to give her a chance. I found myself listening only to this cd, over and over. I couldn't believe that there was someone so good that I didn't know. My favorite song on the cd (and this is hard choice) is "Travelin' Light." Incandescent. Tender. Achingly pure. This cd is a really good place to start learning about Ella the ballad singer versus Ella the scat singer. Well worth the investment!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Best of the "Best" 17 Dec 2001
By Caponsacchi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been purchasing the "Best of--" CD editions as back-ups to my original vinyl copies of the "Songbooks." If you're not about to purchase the individual reissues of the Songbooks, this collection--"Ballads"--is not only the most accurately described (all of the tunes are, in fact, taken at "ballad" tempo) but the most carefully selected and artistically consistent of the anthologies. Most of the arrangements are Nelson Riddle's, and one of the exceptions, Duke's "Do Nothing Til You Hear from Me," features sterling solos by both Ben Webster and Stuff Smith. My only regret is that "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" was not one of the inclusions on this particular collection. But along with the familiar classics, such as "I'm Old Fashioned," are some rarely heard, all-too-welcome revelations, including Irving Berlin's "Now It Can Be Told."

Whereas the other "Best of--" albums contain exemplary material, they also have a "text book" quality--strong, faithful renditions of tunes that other singers have left a more personal stamp on. Not so this album. It's Ella's alone.

[Addendum: (4/1/13) Thanks to a heads-up from an Amazon visitor, it's come to my attention that "Bewitched" is on the "general," or "single," "Best of Ella Fitzgerald" songbooks (the 1993 edition with the yellow cover). If Verve's categories, consolidations, tributaries do not always appear to cohere, the fault may not be the reader's. In any case, the gain is to the owner of any of the 7 minute+ versions Ella's recording of Lorenz Hart's frequently censored, expurgated lyric.

The currently "trendy" term for "interpretation" is "cover." Unfortunately, no true jazz artist or admirer of the "Great American Songbook" "covers" a song sung by another artist. Who could juxtapose Ella's version (from the Songbooks) with Sinatra's (from "The Concert Sinatra") and agree that either or both are merely "covers" of some previous version of the song? Both are strong, independent, wildly different readings of the Rodgers/Hart mini-masterpiece, which forever beckons yet another generation of compelling musical story-tellers.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Ella Makes The Ballad Form Her Own On This Collection 28 Mar 2000
By Anthony G Pizza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If this outstanding Ella Fitzgerald ballads collection was released at her peak, rather than cherry-picked 40 years later from a box set of her legendary songbooks, it would hold together in the light of "blue" period Sinatra albums as Sinatra's "Only The Lonely" or "Wee Small Hours." That testifies to near-perfect song selection, empathetic arrangements (including Nelson Riddle, Billy May and, of course, Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington) and Ms. Fitzgerald's voice and approach to this material.
Unjustifiably neglected for her balladry compared to oft-labelmate Billie Holiday, Ella treats the melodies here like a painter does glass: carefully, but creatively. No scat-shouting "Lady Be Good"; Ella's "Easy To Love" draws the sweet seduction from Cole Porter's lyric that more swinging arrangements miss. Her languid, sanguine versions of "Day-Dream" and "Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me" (more than seven minutes!) find Ella cherishing the moments spent with the ballad form. She even shows a touch of syncopation playfully swinging "I'm Old Fashioned" and Jerome Kern's "Let's Begin," both Riddle arrangements.
"Ballads" salutes Ella's clear, warm voice more than what she could do with it. This makes the collection an essential first purchase for those interested in her career or the jazz singing form itself.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Gives me chills in the best way 6 Jun 2002
By Jon Warshawsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
No one sings like Ella. Her voice is a warm instrument in itself, and she flows through this set in comfortable perfection. This and the two other 'Best of the Songbooks' albums are simply outstanding. 'Oh Lady Be Good' and 'I'm Old Fashioned' are especially heartfelt -- listen to the range and enunciation on both. Every note she hits sounds like it's smack in the center of her comfort zone. 'There's a Small Hotel', more obscure, is magnificent -- with a tasteful arrangement and rich performance by Buddy Bregman's orchestra -- treasureable.
Ella has been appreciated for a long time, but in the context of modern popular she is untouchable. Even after you've heard it a hundred times, each song is a discovery. An Ella album in the evening is like a glass of the best wine after a day of Coke and water.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Perfection 8 Feb 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ella Fitzgerald has, without a doubt, the purest voice recorded. This album captures that purity and shows us that, not only is she the best, but timeless as well. If you've not had the pleasure of experiencing her yet, this is a fantastic 'starter' album. "Oh, Lady Be Good" and "How long Has This Been Going On?" are two of my favorite tracks on this CD. Truth be told, it is difficult to pick favorites, as everything she sings is perfection. This is an album you can't go wrong with. No one needs to say, "Oh, Lady Be Good", to Fitzgerald, as she is always more than good...she's "Easy To Love" as track #5 tells us.
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