Ina Ray Hutton was only 18 years old when she formed her first all-female orchestra in 1934. Ina Ray Hutton's Melodears became the most famous of the "all-girl" bands even though it only lasted for five years and made but five studio recordings. An excellent outfit, it was not topped among all-female ensembles until the International Sweethearts of Rhythm in the 1940s. This CD has all five of the records by the band in 1934 plus highlights from the soundtracks of the group's short films. In addition, also included are two of the dozen studio recordings by the all-male group that Hutton fronted in the early '40s plus selections taken from that orchestra's radio broadcasts of 1943-1944. While the male band was solid although it lacked its own musical personality beyond the vocals of Hutton and future Tommy Dorsey star Stuart Foster, the earlier female group could hold its own with the better second-level bands of the era. Although one misses the dancing gyrations of Ina Ray Hutton on these recordings (for that, one must view the memorable film shorts), this CD is quite definitive, summing up Ina Ray Hutton's legacy perfectly.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow