Early Bird

Early Bird

by Shirley Temple
     
 
In 1961, 20th Century Fox records released several albums containing an unprecedented selection of musical excerpts from classic Shirley Temple movies. In a very real sense, every Temple collection that has ever appeared is an extension of, a sequel to, or a set of, variations upon those monumental LPs that comprehensively compiled so many of her song and dance

Overview

In 1961, 20th Century Fox records released several albums containing an unprecedented selection of musical excerpts from classic Shirley Temple movies. In a very real sense, every Temple collection that has ever appeared is an extension of, a sequel to, or a set of, variations upon those monumental LPs that comprehensively compiled so many of her song and dance routines onto the phonographic format for the very first time. Released in 2000, Early Bird is an excellent sampler containing many of Shirley's finest recordings. "At the Codfish Ball" (which like "Early Bird" was drawn from the soundtrack of Captain January) has a chorus that is clearly recognizable as "When Erastus Plays his Old Kazoo," a hot jazz tune by Sam Coslow recorded in the mid-'20s by both the California Ramblers and Johnny Dodds' Black Bottom Stompers. For a swinging grown-up treatment of "At the Codfish Ball" go directly to the version by Tommy Dorsey's Clambake Seven with a vocal by Edythe Wright, who also covered Shirley's rallying cry to finicky eaters, "You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach Baby" (which unfortunately did not make it onto this collection). For sheer imaginative fun, few Shirley Temple recordings outshine "At the Codfish Ball," and for this reason, both Maria Muldaur and the Chenille Sisters made a point of reviving it. Another number with close ties to the jazz scene of the '30s is "The Right Somebody to Love," given perhaps its best interpretation in 1936 by the Willie Bryant Orchestra. "I Love to Walk in the Rain" gradually swells into a large-scale Busby Berkeley-styled number, complete with choral backup by a team of chortling adults and a well-timed entry by someone operating a duck call. "On the Good Ship Lollipop" has similar backing but seems psychologically closer to the cheerfully delusional "Animal Crackers in My Soup." The lengthiest and most exhausting routine in here is "When I Grow Up," a ponderously narrated five-minute daydream during which Shirley rhymes her way through childhood, adolescence, and various stages of maturity all the way to crone-hood. Maybe some of the best snippets from these old films are the shortest, such as "Lay-De-O, a" mind-expanding bout of yodeling laced with cavorting flutes, and "An Old Straw Hat" from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Equally brief and pointedly rustic, "Polly Wolly Doodle" comes from a creepily pro-Confederate, anti-Union production with racist overtones called The Littlest Rebel (shades of D.W. Griffith). Accompanied by a carefully plucked banjo, Shirley sings a duet with her real-life chum, movie lot guardian and dance instructor Bill Bojangles Robinson. This little piece of Americana, which has got to be the closest thing to a "down-home" recording in the entire Shirley Temple archive, may serve as a discomfiting reminder that in 1935, Hollywood's most profitable little girl was made to perform in blackface.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/15/2007
Label:
Golden Options
UPC:
8712273038322
catalogNumber:
3832

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