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Memories [Sepia]

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
This unlicensed reissue, taking advantage of the 50-year copyright limit on recordings in Europe, actually should have been called "Memories/Selections from A Musical Autobiography, since it combines material from two albums Ethel Merman recorded in 1955. In between Broadway and Hollywood commitments, Merman recorded a rare solo LP in Memories, the first ten tracks on this CD. It was a concept recording devoted to the popular music her mother might have sung to her as a child or that she might have heard before she became a stage star in the early 1930s, songs from Tin Pan Alley that were hits from the 1890s to the '20s. The songs were arranged into ten medleys that ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
This unlicensed reissue, taking advantage of the 50-year copyright limit on recordings in Europe, actually should have been called "Memories/Selections from A Musical Autobiography, since it combines material from two albums Ethel Merman recorded in 1955. In between Broadway and Hollywood commitments, Merman recorded a rare solo LP in Memories, the first ten tracks on this CD. It was a concept recording devoted to the popular music her mother might have sung to her as a child or that she might have heard before she became a stage star in the early 1930s, songs from Tin Pan Alley that were hits from the 1890s to the '20s. The songs were arranged into ten medleys that combined anywhere from two to six compositions into a single track, such that sometimes only a chorus of a tune was included. Merman's Broadway musical director Jay Blackton was the arranger who also conducted the orchestra, and she was joined by a barbershop quartet, the Old Timers Quartet, and on occasion by the Mitchell Boys Choir. In fact, the quartet got certain selections to itself; the foursome sang "A Bird in a Gilded Cage" without Merman's involvement, for instance. Merman herself appeared in duplicate and triplicate through the magic of overdubbing, performing her own duets and trios on occasion as if she were Mary Ford or Patti Page. She was, as usual, thoroughly confident and effective in singing these songs, just as she was when singing show tunes. The LP bore similarities to the Mitch Miller "singalong" albums that came along later. Also in 1955, Decca Records assembled a double album called A Musical Autobiography, drawing on its archive of Merman recordings and having her go into the studio to record spoken introductions and make new recordings of songs she had sung on Broadway earlier in her career. In all, there were 15 new versions of songs like "I Got Rhythm" and "Anything Goes," performed in jazzy small-band arrangements with the Buddy Cole Quartet and sometimes only Cole's piano, and those 15 tracks are added to the ten Memories medleys for the Sepia Records reissue. These are some of the best songs with which Merman was associated, including compositions by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin, and while these are not the original versions, they are well performed, with the introductions making for a recital-like effect.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/12/2009
  • Label: Sepia Recordings
  • EAN: 5055122111313
  • Catalog Number: 1131
  • Sales rank: 106,576

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ethel Merman Primary Artist, Vocals
Jay Blackton Conductor
Technical Credits
George Gershwin Composer
Irving Berlin Composer
George M. Cohan Composer
Ed Haley Composer
Alice Hawthorne Composer
Henry Creamer Composer
Buddy DeSylva Composer
Dorothy Fields Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Ray Henderson Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Arthur J. Lamb Composer
Turner Layton Composer
Cole Porter Composer
Arthur Schwartz Composer
Harry Von Tilzer Composer
Charles Ward Composer
Harry Armstrong Composer
Nora Bayes Composer
Jack Norworth Composer
Jay Blackton Arranger
Maurice Scott Composer
Mort Dixon Composer
William Jerome Composer
James V. Monaco Composer
Egbert VanAlstyne Composer
Leo Wood Composer
Edward Madden Composer
Seymour Rice Composer
Lee Roberts Composer
Ren Shields Composer
Lee Stevens Photo Courtesy
Harry Tierney Composer
Vincent Bryan Composer
Harry Dacre Composer
Gus Edwards Composer
Ida Emerson Composer
Percy Gaunt Composer
Percy Wenrich Composer
Robin Cherry Remastering
Will D. Cobb Composer
Traditional Composer
Abe Olman Composer
Stanley Murphy Composer
Richard Gerard Composer
Charles Daniels Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    So I'm Told

    It was a gift and the recipient was thrilled.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Not just another Merman showtune album

    Think of this as Ethel Merman meets Mitch Miller (and Ethel wins). The first half of this is Ethel singing turn of the 20th Century standards. Her voice was perfect for that sort of music, and it works well. The second half is Ethel re-doing a lot of her "biggest hits" with the sort of voice over introductions you associate with a PBS Pledge Night special. The tunes are OK, but the intros are annoying. There are better compilations of Merman showtunes. The real value here are the sing-a-long tunes that she did so well and so seldom.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews