Dick Powell

In Hollywood (1933-1935)

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Not to be confused with Dick Powell in Hollywood, the double-LP compilation released by Columbia Records in 1966, Columbia/Legacy's 1995 single-CD/cassette compilation of Dick Powell recordings In Hollywood (1933-1935) nevertheless draws upon the same body of recordings, originally made for Brunswick Records. Powell cut 28 sides for Brunswick between May 1933 and June 1935, all but two of them songs featured in the movie musicals he was making for Warner Bros. during the period. Twenty of those songs are featured here, among them such standards as "The Gold Diggers' Song (We're in the Money)" and "Lullaby of Broadway." Not included are "Happiness Ahead" and "I'm Goin' Shoppin' With You," both of which have been cited as among Powell's more popular recordings, and also missing are his introductions of "Why Do I Dream Those Dreams?" and "I Believe in Miracles," songs that became hits for others. In addition, this collection represents only the early years of Powell's busy parallel careers in music and movies. He didn't stop singing suddenly in mid-'35, of course, but he did switch record companies to Decca, and that material resides in the vaults of MCA, so it was not available to Columbia/Legacy. What is here is impressive, however. Powell possessed a strong, clear tenor voice that he uses to good effect on these songs, many of them written by the team of Harry Warren and Al Dubin. If he was not as popular a recording artist as he was a movie star, that may have been because his approach seemed a throwback to the 1920s style of Rudy Vallée in an era when Bing Crosby's conversational baritone ruled. Then, too, Powell focused more on his movies, making five or six a year (not all of them musicals), while Crosby made only two or three, leaving time to promote his records on his weekly radio show. In Hollywood (1933-1935) presents a big chunk of Powell's early work and makes the case for him as one of the major singing actors of the 1930s.

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