This is a very attractive package, which has been put together with a great deal of care. It features two dozen American songbirds with eighteen different bands. Many will be familiar but some, like Peggy Mann with Teddy Powell, Jane Harvey with Benny Goodman, Bea Booze with Andy Kirk and Delores Hawkins with Gene Krupa, have been somewhat neglected. What all have in common is the voice beautiful, and in some cases the tune most associated with a particular artiste has been bypassed in favour of a less well-known example. As a result collectors may have some of these tracks in their collection already, but they're unlikely to have them all. Sound quality is excellent, and every track is a delight.
Here are 24 tracks showcasing many of the great girl singers of the 1940s. No collection could exclude Ella and what a perfect opening song "Three Little Words" dating from 1941. June Richmond became one of the very first black singers to be featured regularly with a white band when she performed with Jimmy Dorsey's Orchestra in 1938. An enthusiastic vocalist who was excellent on blues but also effective on ballads, Richmond was a popular attraction during the swing era. She worked with Les Hite early on in California, toured with Dorsey, was with Cab Calloway (1938) and then became best-known for her association with Andy Kirk's Orchestra during 1939-42. She became a solo act after leaving Kirk and then from 1948 on mostly worked in Europe, at first based in France and then later on in Scandinavia. June Richmond died of a heart attack at the age of 47. Here we have "Midnight Stroll" with Andy Kirk dating from July 1940. Helen Humes started off in the 1930s working with Stuff Smith and Al Sears then recording with Harry James 1937-1938. In 1938, Humes joined Count Basie's Orchestra for three years. Since Jimmy Rushing specialized in blues, Helen Humes mostly got stuck singing pop ballads, but she did a fine job. After freelancing in New York (1941-1943) and touring with Clarence Love (1943-1944), Humes moved to Los Angeles. She began to record as a leader and had a hit in "Be-Baba-Leba"; her 1950 original "Million Dollar Secret" is a classic. Here she sings "It's Square But it Rocks" with Count Basie dating from January 1941. Ivie Anderson was singing with Duke Ellington from 1931 until 1942 and became a key part of his orchestra introducing "It Don't Mean a Thing" and singing such numbers as "Stormy Weather," "I'm Checkin' Out -- Go'om Bye," and a variety of pop tunes. When she left Ellington, it was because of asthma. She opened up a restaurant in Los Angeles and recorded eight songs in 1946, but her illness eventually struck her down. On this compilation we hear her singing "I Don't Mind" dating from February 1942. Peggy Mann was born in 1919 and was a prominent big band singer in the 1930s and 40s. She worked with the likes of Henry Halstead, Ben Pollack, Larry Clinton, and Teddy Powell, and also as a solo act, before retiring from the music industry in the early 50s. Her she sings with Teddy Powell "There Will Never be Another You" dating from July 1942. Jane Harvey sang with Benny Goodman and recorded "You Brought a New kind of Love to Me" in February 1945. Bea Booze (1920 - 1975) was often credited as Wee Bea Booze, was an American R&B and jazz singer most popular in the 1940s. Later in the 1940s, Booze recorded with the Andy Kirk band, which featured trumpeter Fats Navarro, and also with a jazz quartet that included saxophonist George Kelly and organist Larry Johnson. She retired from the music business in the early 1950s. Here she sings "Alabama Bound" which dates from January 1946. Mary Ann McCall (1919-1994) sang pop music and vocal jazz with amongst others Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman's bands. She was briefly married to Al Cohn. In 1949 she won the Down Beat Readers Poll for "Girl Singer (With Band)" Here she sings "I Got it Bad and That Ain't Good" with Woody Herman dating from December 1948. There are many other vocalists on this excellent compilation which is another excellent addition to the Bygone Days catalogue. The liner notes from Peter Dempsey make interesting reading and the 73 minutes of music pass by all too quickly. Luckily you can press play again and listen to your favourite songs and bands from this winning CD.
We were inspired to order this offering after a very long weekend running a NAAFI tent for a Heritage railway's special 40's event. Such a delight to listen to and recall the fun we had, a very emersive collection - enjoy the music.