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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Voyage label Lives up to Its Name, 17 Mar. 2009
By 
Roger Rebec "Roger Rebec" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Fantastic Voyage label has done Dame Shirley and her fans proud with this issue, which contains all the work she did for the Philips label. Disc One gives us all the singles, A sides and B sides; disc two showcases the EP "Live at the Cafe de Paris" and the 10" album "Born to Sing the Blues".

Whilst some of the songs featured on the singles and the arrangements and excellent mono sound may be of their time, there is no doubt that we are listening to a highly talented and committed artist at work. The singles album is interesting because the B sides are invariably more than just make-weights. Indeed, on one notable occasion, it was the original B side, "As I Love You", that eventually topped the charts.

Every song in this collection leaps out at you as you listen. There is sparkle, passion, fun and a wonderful sense of spontaneity. The second disc featuring Dame Shirley's live performance at the Cafe de Paris and her first LP (albeit a ten incher) is no less interesting. There are several live recordings of Dame Shirley available and, in this early one, she proves she knew how to work an audience right from the beginning. She also turns in some scorching performances on her "Born to Sing the Blues" album. Indeed, it would be interesting to hear return to some of these songs so many years later.

The booklet accompanying these discs is informative and interesting. The album is well presented in a slip case. The voice is young, as you would expect, but the hallmarks of Dame Shirley as a performer are well in evidence.

There was a delay in the issue of this album but the wait was well worth it. I have thoroughly enjoyed it every time I have played it and it deserves its place in any record collection.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceeds my expectations!, 26 May 2009
By 
Lee Eng Kong "Terence Lee" (George Town, Penang Malaysia) - See all my reviews
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I took my time to order this double CD set as the Philips recordings are not my favourite Bassey era. I also did not have much faith in the label reissuing the Dame's Philips recordings. Imagine my surprise when this set sounded much better than my 2 Philips CDs. I was also pleasantly surprised by the colourful booklet which was a pleasure to behold as it had colour pics of Shirley's music sheets & singles. Under the transparent tray are some sepia-toned reproductions of Shirley in the news in the 50s making this a lovely package indeed. Before I purchased it, I thought the price was too steep for a package containing songs from the public domain. But now that this beauty is in my hands, I totally understand why. It's worth every pound or dollar or ringgit I paid for!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Almost' Complete Early Years!, 28 Jun. 2010
By 
Stephen Woods "Archive Co-ordinator" (Lancaster England) - See all my reviews
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What a missed opportunity! Tantalisingly advertised as 'The COMPLETE early years' one assumed that this would be the ultimate re-issue of all known released Bassey product from the Philips label. But unfortunately, they missed the mark by leaving off Shirley's most collectable 50s recording not previously available on CD compilations at that time.

I am refering to the track 'The Wall' a cover of the old Patti Page lower chart USA hit single. This recording originally appeared on the complilation 12" vinyl release of the 'Bewitching Miss Bassey'. A one-off New York recording with Jimmy Carrol and his Orchestra and produced by the great Mitch Miller.

'The Wall' is now available on other budget released compilation of Shirley's Philips recordings - so there isn't any contractual or rights issues to deny the inclusion in such an essential set - so you gotta buy 2 CDs the get the entire complete 50s Philips recordings - shame!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great start-a BBC ban!, 10 Aug. 2011
Another of those pure accidents when the B side of a flop single hit the top and begins the journey of Shirley Bassey to superstardom.
As I Love You was a cover of a Gogi Grant flop and no one held out much hope for it but it was Shirley's 2nd Gogi cover where she lost out to the original.
Covers is what this singer was all about whether it was Harry Belafonte,Ben E King or the Beatles.
The sleeve photo comes from the studio cast of Showboat and is to my mind one of her greatest ones
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4.0 out of 5 stars No WALL here!, 29 July 2014
By 
Aj Watson (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
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Sadly this comp leaves off "The Wall", probably Shirley's best recording during this period. It was recorded in New York in 1956 during a US visit and produced by Mitch Miller. Inexplicably, it was buried in the vault by Phillips were it stayed until it was finally pulled for inclusion on a 1959 LP ("Bewitching Miss Bassey"), but even then it was buried on side 2. Patti Page had a hit with the song in 1957, however Shirley's earlier recording was far superior and should have seen single release.
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