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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

on 19 October 2012
If you like Anita O'Day, this is undoubtedly a great buy - and if you don't yet know of Anita O'Day, then this is a fine place to discover her genius. But you need to remember that this is a public domain release of recordings made more than fifty years ago, and the companies releasing this material do have a tendency to be more sloppy and careless than one would really like, and sadly that has definitely happened here.

But, better to begin with the good points, I think. All these LPs were originally released on the Verve label, and (I am fairly sure) can all be obtained separately in their authentic copyrighted editions at higher prices, but often with bonus tracks. I have read so many contradictory opinions about the sound quality of this issue (and others on the Real Gone Jazz label), so I feel entitled to add my own quite unscientific and inexpert, but I hope balanced, thoughtful and helpful views. I get particularly annoyed by those who rant about how awful the sound is, generally making ludicrous assertions backed up with nothing. I simply say that the sound quality of the recordings here is, taken purely on its own terms and compared against nothing else, good enough for anyone to enjoy every one of the songs completely and absolutely. There is some slight variation from album to album (well, some are mono, some stereo for a start!), but all the vocals and backing groups, big and small, are as clear as you need them to be. I do not have any of the full albums on LP or authentic Verve CDs to compare them with, but I do have the Verve compilation CD entitled "Anita O'Day's Finest Hour" which contains some of the tracks on this set. If you listen reasonably carefully to these copyrighted versions, it is noticeable that the backing has a crisper and cleaner sound there, particularly where it is the full Billy May orchestra. I don't think you can really miss that point if you want to muck around (wasting time??) making comparisons - but, in its own right and in isolation, there is nothing seriously lacking in how this set sounds.

The flaw, however, is most vexing, and I find it incredible that nobody writing about this release before has spotted it or mentioned it!! Disc 3, "Swings Cole Porter with Billy May" - please, someone start that and take a listen! Yep, "Just One of Those Things", that's for sure the first track of that LP - but, hang on, THIS is the Billy May orchestra and arrangement we're hearing???!!??? Well, no, it isn't, it's a quartet of distinguished jazz musicians - oh, and it's in mono, while this SHOULD be a 1959 stereo LP! Why?? Because it's actually the first track of the LP "An Evening with Anita O'Day, and was recorded in 1954, that's why! It's also glaringly obviously wrong, because it's just so different from the next eleven tracks, which makes me wonder why nobody else seems to have noticed. Now, I don't know where these public domain companies get their material from. Some claim LP needle drops, some say they get them from the proper CD releases, but neither could possibly explain this error, as either way you'd get the right first track! Even odder, this album actually has the six bonus tracks from the Verve CD edition! They are all recordings of Cole Porter songs that Anita did for various other Verve LPs. So Track 13, "You're the Top" is the same one as Track 1 of Disc 1, which is fine. And, guess what, the last bonus track was "Just One of Those Things" from "An Eve......" - well, you get the idea...Tracks 1 and 18 are the same, which certainly AIN'T fine!!

So, to summarise, what you get here is seven full LPs, all as originally released, with perfectly good sound quality, but no album covers other than what you see here pictured jumbled on the front shot and absolutely no sleeve notes...and one LP with bonus tracks but missing its opening track.

Please enjoy the great music, but you might as well skip the first track of Disc 3 and delete it from your mp3 player. I have!
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on 26 December 2014
I really do like the recorded works of Anita O'Day, a professional singer with style although at times eccentric. This collection has many fine tracks on it but a major problem. I consider these reviews to be an opportunity draw attention to and pass on the problems you find.
I am surprised that no one has mentioned the glaring problem with disks one and two where the music does not correspond to the track listing. I find this very disconcerting.
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on 17 January 2012
What a find! Eight albums by the sublime Anita O'Day at the peak of her powers on four CDs at such a ridiculously cheap price. The remastering is excellent and at times it's hard to believe that the newest of the recordings is half a century old. There is so much to enjoy that it's very difficult to pick highlights and these will inevitably involve personal preference anyway. My own favourites include the meltingly gorgeous If The Moon Turns Green, the bleak cynicism of Ten Cents A Dance, the deliciously up-tempo Little Girl Blue, the virtuosity of Love Me Or Leave Me and the wicked humour of To Keep My Love Alive. It's impossible to listen to Sweet Georgia Brown without picturing Anita in slinky black dress and lampshade hat in the film Jazz On a Summers Day.

The only disappointment is the complete absence of sleeve notes. With the sole exception of Anita Sings The Most, where there is a simple list of the personnel, there is no information whatever about the performers, the recordings or the music. It's maybe a bit churlish to complain about this given the price of the set but other budget labels can provide helpful and interesting information and it's unfortunate that Real Gone Jazz didn't even try.
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on 18 October 2011
When I was a young man I worked with someone who told me how great a singer Anita O'day was but I found it very hard to find any discs by her. Then the other day I came across this and thought at that price I could not go wrong. So it proved for the price of a couple of beers you get 8 albums by a singer with a great voice amazing rhythmic sense and a real joy in her singing. This is a bargain and Anita is a much under rated talent and John Robinson was right about her, she is a great jazz singer and more people should listen to her and this is a great place to get a substantial part of her work for a snip.The remastering is good so there is no reason not to invest.
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Following on from the the two Davids reviews Krimson Norris and David Griffiths.
I thought the track listing would be of use.

The sets are as cheap as chips and the 4 CDs with two albums to each do not list this on them.

So here is one I prepared earlier!

Please note I've used the American spellings.

Track listing
1. You're the Top
2. Honeysuckle Rose
3. A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
4. Who Cares?
5. I Can't Get Started
6. Fine and Dandy
7. As Long As I Live
8. No Moon At All
9. Time After Time
10. I'll See You In My Dreams
11. I Fall In Love Too Easily
12. Beautiful Love
13. Don't Be That Way
14. Let's Face the Music and Dance
15. I Never Had a Chance
16. Stompin' At the Savoy
17. Pick Yourself Up
18. Stars Fell On Alabama
19. Sweet Georgia Brown
20. I Won't Dance
21. Man With a Horn
22. I Used To Be Color Blind
23. There's a Lull In My Life
24. Let's Begin
25. 'S Wonderful/They Can't Take That Away from Me
26. Tenderly
27. Old Devil Moon
28. Love Me or Leave Me
29. We'll Be Together Again
30. Stella By Starlight
31. Taking a Chance On Love
32. Them There Eyes
33. I've Got the World on a String
34. You Turned the Tables on Me
35. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
36. Take the a Train
37. Tenderly
38. A Night In Tunisia
39. Four
40. Early Autumn
41. Four Brothers
42. Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)
43. My Funny Valentine
44. Frenesi
45. Body and Soul
46. What's Your Story Morning Glory
47. Peanut Vendor
48. Just One of Those Things
49. Love For Sale
50. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
51. Easy To Love
52. I Get a Kick Out of You
53. All of You
54. Get Out of Town
55. I've Got You Under My Skin
56. Night and Day
57. It's De-Lovely
58. I Love You
59. What is This Thing Called Love
60. You're the Top
61. My Heart Belongs To Daddy
62. Why Shouldn't I
63. From This Moment On
64. Love For Sale
65. Just One of Those Things
66. Johnny One Note
67. Little Girl Blue
68. Falling In Love With Love
69. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
70. I Could Write a Book
71. Have You Met Miss Jones
72. Lover
73. It Never Entered My Mind
74. Ten Cents a Dance
75. I've Got Five Dollars
76. To Keep My Love Alive
77. Spring is Here
78. That Old Feeling
79. Angel Eyes
80. The Thrill is Gone
81. Detour Ahead
82. Yesterdays
83. Waiter, Make Mine Blues
84. Whatever Happened To You
85. When Sunny Gets Blue
86. Stella By Starlight
87. Mad About the Boy
88. A Blues Serenade
89. Goodbye
90. Trav'lin Light
91. The Moon Looks Down and Laughs
92. Don't Explain
93. Remember
94. Some Other Spring
95. What a Little Moonlight Can Do
96. Miss Brown To You
97. God Bless the Child
98. If the Moon Turns Green
99. I Hear Music
100. Lover, Come Back To Me
101. Crazy He Calls Me
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on 9 December 2012
To be honest I haven't listened to half of this yet but I find the first four albums - This is Anita (1955) Pick Yourself Up (1956) Anita Sings The Most (1957) and Anita Sings The Winners (1958) so fascinating and enjoyable that I am playing and replaying them and picking up something new each time. The singing is first class and frequently surprising as are the arrangements with imaginative big band backing for Anita on most numbers - many standards and some surprises at least to me. The exception to the big bands (Buddy Bregman, Marty Paich, Russell Garcia, Billy May, Johnny Mandel) is Anita Sings The Most where Anita is backed by a quartet led by Oscar Peterson. I would have liked more details of the musicians and backing singers where appropriate and am greatly looking forward to hearing the albums on disc three - Anita O'Day Swings Cole Porter With Billy May (1959) and Anita O'Day And Billy May Swing Rodgers and Hart (1960) and Disc Four - Waiter Make Mine Blues (1960) and Trav'lin Light (1961). But don't take my word for it - listen for yourself.
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on 26 October 2013
Anita O'Day is one of the most neglected female singers of her time - she was on the same level as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Worth reading her autobiography High Times Hard Times
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on 1 May 2014
All these classic albums are very good buys. Wonderful value. Very quick delivery. Really enjoy listening. Can't wait for the next m ultibuy
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on 7 September 2014
A great set of cds every track a winner.This lady can sing and the arrangements are great.
I certainly recommend this set.
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on 27 January 2014
Brilliant collection of work by one of the greatest Jazz singers of all time, She was amazing and awesome, enjoy
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