Compiled from recordings spanning a period from the 1930s to the 1950s, with the occasional track either side of that, this collection features 75 tracks that sound great; no problem there despite their age. Some of these tracks were hits for the artists performing them here, who weren't always the original artists. in some cases, the hits featured here are more famous than the originals, for example Love letters (Ketty Lester), I remember you (Frank Ifield), At last (Etta James) and When I fall in love (Nat King Cole) to name some.
There are plenty of surprises, notably the Andrews Sisters, who are represented by The Japanese sandman (not one of their most famous recordings, but great to find it here), Connie Francis, also not represented by one of her famous hits, but by Ac-cent-chu-ate the positive.
Overall, I was already familiar with most of the songs, so the surprises were mainly limited to the versions selected for inclusion. For the price I paid, this was an excellent bargain.
I was sufficiently impressed with `Songbook 1,' to order `Songbook 2!' So, I now have 150 songs from that era which includes all of the top artists and best song writers like Gershwin, Cole Porter & the like. Not all are hits, or indeed from singles, but some most certainly are, all are worth a listen to enhance one's knowledge of the `GAS.' OK, there a few corny show songs to contend with along the way, but that's hardly terminal now is it? The best thing of course is the ridiculously cheap price for the effort and quality put into these albums. The quality is undeniably good on these recordings which is hardly surprising when you have the likes of Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Holiday, Nat King Cole, Simone, Cooke, Bennet, Deano & even Howling Wolf, to mention but a few. There are also some very nice surprises from the lesser lights. I did wonder what Frank Ifield's, `I Remember You,' was doing here but on researching it, I found out it was written in 1941 as part of a film score for `The Fleet's In.' I also enjoyed the big band music from the likes of Miller, Ellington, Goodman & Coniff, as well as some of the groups of that time, like the `Inkspots & Coasters. If I could point out one great little track then I would put you onto Fats Domino's `My Blue Heaven' on disc 2. Overall then a very good and rounded picture of that era, even if some of the artists didn't hit the big time until the 50's or later? I found it quite an educating experience, looking up those artists I didn't know much about. I've already purchased a Sam Cooke album! * Note that the song list on disc 2, when displayed, is completely wrong, but the disc is true to the insert - so go ahead and play it!