Romantic Standards: The Great American Love Songs

Romantic Standards: The Great American Love Songs

     
 

The love songs that closed out the 20th century tended to be a blinders-off, gritty assessment of the emotion, as if love were a competition or an exhausting (and sometimes ugly) long distance race. Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" comes immediately to mind, or the creepy undercurrent to Sting's "Every MoveSee more details below

Overview

The love songs that closed out the 20th century tended to be a blinders-off, gritty assessment of the emotion, as if love were a competition or an exhausting (and sometimes ugly) long distance race. Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" comes immediately to mind, or the creepy undercurrent to Sting's "Every Move You Make," which raises obsessive paranoia to the level of art. Even the apparent joyous infectiousness of one of 2003's most popular songs, OutKast's "Hey Ya," actually explores the divisiveness of love and the difficulty in keeping two people together, even as its funky, bubbling rhythm pulls couples to the dancefloor. All of which makes this collection of love songs from America's golden age of melody so startling when you really listen in to what is being said. Love, instead of being a challenge, is a wistful dream to cling to, an aspiration for a better life, a star you pin your hopes to; so when Lee Wiley sings Ira and George Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me" here (backed by Eddie Condon & His Band), it carries none of the edginess and suffocating feel of Sting's "Every Move You Make," but addresses the same drive to always be around the one you love, not as a dangerous delusion, but as something that brings comfort and safety. One could argue that the nature of love and of being in love hasn't changed in all these years, and undoubtedly the pros and cons of the emotion and what it means to our lives is still what it has always been, a way to define who we are -- at our best and at our worst -- with other people. You can't help but wonder, though, after listening to the songs on this collection, most of them from the 1930s and 1940s, where has all our hope gone? On the other hand, the only song here that even hints at sex is Kay Starr's "If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)," and it ends up being the track that comes closest to being a contemporary love song. What does all this say about our approaches to love? No clue. But if you're having a romantic dinner with the one you love, this disc will probably sound wonderful in the background, while "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" probably won't.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/03/2004
Label:
Varese Sarabande
UPC:
0030206653823
catalogNumber:
066538

Tracks

  1. Isn't It Romantic?  - Mel Tormé
  2. Embraceable You
  3. Let Me Call You Sweetheart
  4. Swingin' Down the Lane  - Curt Massey
  5. My Foolish Heart  -  Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
  6. Always  - Jo Ann Greer
  7. Don't Blame Me
  8. If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)
  9. Three Little Words
  10. Too Marvelous for Words  - Shirley Wilson
  11. I'm in the Mood for Love  - Doris Day
  12. I Hear a Rhapsody
  13. Sunday Kind of Love
  14. Old Fashioned Love
  15. My Ideal  - Martha Tilton
  16. While My Lady Sleeps  - Buddy Clark
  17. More and More  - Vaughn Monroe
  18. Someone to Watch Over Me  -  Eddie Condon & His Band

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lee Wiley   Vocals
Herb Jeffries   Vocals
Johnny Amoroso   Vocals
Snooky Lanson   Vocals
Larry Noble   Vocals
Buddy Clark   Vocals
Claire Hogan   Vocals
Carl Fisher & His Orchestra   Accompaniment
Shirley Wilson   Vocals

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Louis Prima   Composer
James P. Johnson   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Bronislaw Kaper   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Henry Creamer   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Evren Göknar   Mastering
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Isham Jones   Composer
Don Juan   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Bert Kalmar   Composer
Cary E. Mansfield   Producer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Allan Reuss   Composer
Leo Robin   Composer
Harry Ruby   Composer
Ned Washington   Composer
Victor Young   Composer
Joseph F. Laredo   Producer,Liner Notes
Jack Baker   Composer
Bill Pitzonka   Art Direction
Marty Wekser   Producer
Richard A. Whiting   Composer
George Fragos   Composer
Anita Leonard   Composer
Cecil Mack   Composer
Stan Rhodes   Composer
Barbara Bell   Composer
Barbara Belle   Composer
Newell Chase   Composer
Leo Friedman   Composer
Dick Gasparre   Composer
Pea Vee   Composer
Beth Slater Whitson   Composer
Tommy Karen   Composer
Rainy Robinson   Composer

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