Almost Sweet and Gentle
Fans of the tragically underrated '40s harmony group the Dinning Sisters were delighted by the release of the terrific compilation oddly entitled Almost Sweet and Gentle on the Jasmine Records label in late 2001. More than doubling the amount of Dinning Sisters material available at the time, the two-disc set reveals a whole bushel of bright and romantic harmony songs somehow left off of Collectors' Choice's 1997 collection, like the "Harlem Sandman" who "makes you count Basie instead of countin' sheep," and the sultry big band romp "I Love My Love." Neglected gems like "Brazil," "Love on a Greyhound Bus" and their million-selling biggest hit "Buttons and Bows" all make appearances here, as do previously unavailable "Western Sweet" numbers like "Lolita Lopez," "Oh Monah," and "I Get the Blues When It Rains." Fun novelties like "Hawaiian War Chant" and the bizarre "Iggity Song" are fun distractions, but the real gems are the intimately whispered love songs like "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," "Once in a While," and their cradling, definitive version of "The Way You Look Tonight," which all showcase the Sisters' flawless, inviting harmonies. Unfortunately, the lackluster liner notes still make the previously available Best of the Dinning Sisters a better first buy, but those who are already fans of their music or anyone with a favorable ear for their contemporaries the Andrews Sisters and the Boswell Sisters should seek out Almost Sweet and Gentle without hesitation.