Various Artists

Girl Singers of the Big Swing Bands

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AllMusic Review by

Instead of Girl Singers, a more apt title for this French collection would have been Girl Swingers, since it assembles some of the most rhythmic female vocalists of the big-band era. Sure, there's plenty of room for a sweet ballad such as Helen Forrest's vocal on "Deep Purple" or Doris Day's era-defining "Sentimental Journey," but the emphasis here is on performances that swing -- lightly or strongly. Fortunately, there were plenty of female singers with swing, and yet more fortunate, the compilers are a talented bunch, unearthing many a song from the archive that will be new to everyone except the most fanatical of collectors. Many of the usual names appear -- Anita O'Day on "Murder, He Says," Ella Fitzgerald on "A Kiss Goodnight," Billie Holiday on "Any Old Time," June Christy on "Willow Weep for Me," Maxine Sullivan on "Gone with the Wind," Helen Ward on "Goody Goody," and even Jo Stafford on "Snootie Little Cutie." Also, there are quite a few of the middle rank of familiar singers, such as Bea Wain, Ginnie Powell, Kitty Kallen, and Martha Tilton. An even larger number of names, however, will be unfamiliar to most listeners -- despite their high quality -- including Caroline Grey ("Tea for Two"), Judy Ellington ("Some Like It Hot"), and Lucy Ann Polk ("Back in Your Own Backyard"). Overall, the disc is a wonderful treasure for fans of traditional pop or big bands, and aside from the previously mentioned "Sentimental Journey," there's not a clich├ęd compilation choice in sight.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:36
2
3:04
3 2:48
4 2:54
5
3:07
6
2:51
7 2:57
8
2:35
9 3:15
10 2:32
11 3:31
12
3:15
13
3:36
14 3:13
15 3:09
16 3:23
17
2:53
18 3:21
19 3:21
20 3:17

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:22
2 3:23
3 3:12
4 3:00
5 3:05
6 3:51
7
3:27
8 3:36
9 3:08
10 3:21
11 2:18
12 3:17
13 2:32
14 2:52
15 3:42
16 2:39
17 3:05
18 2:27
19 2:43
20 2:58
blue highlight denotes track pick