Various Artists

Hollywood's Golden Era: All Singing!

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DRG Records' 24-song, 70-minute CD Hollywood's Golden Era: All Singing!!! is a revised and truncated version of the label's 1979 double-LP set 25 Years of Recorded Sound (1945-1970) from the Vaults of MGM, Vol. 1. (There was no second volume.) Like its predecessor, it focuses on rare recordings, many of them originating on singles released by MGM Records in the 1950s, performed by a wide variety of screen stars; many of the tracks also come directly from movie soundtracks. Some of Hollywood's biggest musical stars -- Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland -- turn up, as do some classic songs, such as "As Time Goes By," "Long Ago and Far Away," "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," and "Funny Face." But many of the songs are unfamiliar or are outright novelties, and many of the singers, while well known movie stars, are not known for their singing, among them Ava Gardner, Susan Hayward, Desi Arnaz, Red Skelton, Marlon Brando, and Van Johnson. Perhaps the most bizarre of these rarities is "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," a song, as they say, written "for exploitation only" (which is to say that it did not appear in the film itself, but was intended to promote it), that is sung, in a watered down rock ‘n' roll manner, by the uncredited Debbie Burton, with vocal interjections by Bette Davis, the star of the picture. This is an album, then, for folks who are looking for something a little different in movie music, not just the familiar favorites by the familiar stars.

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