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THE SIXTIES RESURGENCE OF CLASSY MARGARET,
This review is from: Maggie Isn't Margaret Anymore / Pop Country (Audio CD)
Margaret Whiting (1924-2011) enjoyed a long career and well-earned reputation as a classy vocalist with her Capitol Records tenure of the '40's and `50's enabling many hits in the USA although her fame fell short of the wider popularity bestowed on Ella, Peggy, Doris etc. However, Margaret's innate ability to handle all song genres included not only the Great American Songbook but newly-minted show and movie songs, country ballads, novelty pop ditties and occasionally even kids nursery rhymes set to music. Having helped to establish the newly-launched Capitol label in 1943, she bloomed until 1957 before seeking pastures new and surviving the rapid and drastic changes to musical styles during that decade and those which followed, she recorded for Dot and Verve/ MGM before surprisingly reinventing herself as a pop princess at London Records where she notched up a dozen US hits including the Chart-topping single THE WHEEL OF HURT in 1966.
Such popularity spawned a same-titled album followed by two others and Real Gone Music has done us all a favour by resurrecting them with the latter two neatly combined to fit this CD - thus filling a gap in the Whiting CD discography. MAGGIE ISN'T MARGARET ANYMORE (1967) is a mix of covers like THERE'S A KIND OF HUSH, THIS IS MY SONG, SOMETHIN' STUPID and revived oldie I REMEMBER YOU (hits for Herman & His Hermits, Petula Clark, Frank/ Nancy Sinatra and Frank Ifield respectively) with show tune MY CUP RUNNETH OVER from Broadway's two-hander I DO!, I DO! a hit for Ed Ames. Less familiar is the Bacharach/David ballad, ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK A BROKEN HEART and the jaunty JUST LIKE A MAN. Needless to say, Margaret's vocal range and power are well on form on ideal material that makes an entertaining collection.
The second album POP COUNTRY (1968) returns the singer to the country and western genre with which she was quite familiar, having had a string of hits with country singer Jimmy Wakely during the Forties and had since revisited on occasions. RELEASE ME, I CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU, YOU DON'T KNOW ME and GENTLE ON MY MIND are familiar favourites, whilst I CAN'T HELP IT (IF I'M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU) is a known Hank Williams heart-breaker and I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IT HURTS an old Wakely hit. Orchestrations blend country and pop with occasional chorus with sufficient space allowing Margaret's emotional vocal shading to shine through. Four previously unreleased songs intended for singles are welcome bonus tracks and enhanced by an unexpected jingle for a beer commercial!
Real Gone Music's remastering is faultless and Will Friedwald's accompanying notes are an abject lesson on how such reissue material should be treated with rare photographs adding their significance to this welcome project.