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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Ella, 26 Jun 2014
This review is from: Hello Dolly! (Audio CD)
This is one of Ella Fitzgerald's best albums and this is all the more surprising as it was released in 1964 and one of the last recordings she made on Verve. Ill health kicked in a year later and her voice did start to suffer. But here she is on top form, although like many albums from the early 1960's the songs are from 2 different recording sessions.

The first 4 songs were recorded in London with Johnny Spencer and include the singles 'People', 'Hello dolly' and 'Can't buy me love'. The first 2 songs are now associated with Barbra Streisand, but remember Streisand didn't record 'Hello dolly' until her movie in the late 60's. And I think Ella does a great job with both songs. 'Can't buy me love' was obviously cashing in on the Beatles success and did give her a No.34 hit in the UK.

The remaining songs were arranged by Frank DeVol who did some of Ella's best recordings. His quiet ballads and lush arrangements really suited Ella's voice. This album would be worth buying just for her new version of Gershwin's 'How high the moon'. Here she recorded the song the way it was written, as a ballad not an up-tempo number. It is really beautiful and similar in style to 'Every time we say goodbye' from the Cole Porter songbook. Which brings me nicely to the new version of Cole Porter's 'Miss Otis regrets', recorded also as a ballad. There's a new recording of 'Pete Kelly's Blues' and a cover of the most successful Eurovision song of all time 'Volare' (and it didn't win!).

'The memory of you', 'My man', 'The thrill is gone' and 'Lullaby of the leaves' are all beautifully sung, in fact there's not a dud here. The album did chart in America in 1964 which cannot be said of most of her albums. But apart from 'The Johnny Mercer songbook' which came out the following year her career was on a downward spiral vocally because of bad health, although she would win many more Grammy's for her small ensemble jazz albums in the 1970s and 80's.
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Hello Dolly!
Hello Dolly! by Ella Fitzgerald (Audio CD - 2010)
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