Maureen O'Hara

Love Letters from Maureen O'Hara

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Maureen O'Hara had hit a rough patch in her acting career in the late 1950s, over something that had nothing to do with the quality of her work. She'd sued Confidential magazine, a scandal-sheet of the period, over an article they'd run about her, and suddenly found herself blackballed by a movie industry fearful of what the magazine might to do to damage various studios and their stars, if they were seen as employing her. She got past it in the early '60s, and thrived for another 15 years until her retirement in the '70s, but during this fallow period, O'Hara also took the time to cut an album for RCA Victor -- other stars who weren't especially closely associated with music were doing the same, and it did serve to keep her name in front of the public at a time when the movies weren't using her. It also turned out that she wasn't all that bad, as a performer whose career had little to do with music. Love Letters from Maureen O'Hara wouldn't give Lotte Lenya, or even Doris Day worries about a new competitor on the block, but it has its moments -- O'Hara isn't always a subtle singer, but she is able to bring out the emotions behind songs such as "The More I See You" or "My Romance." She's not quite as at ease with the jazzier setting of Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," but when she wraps herself around a song such as "I Only Have Eyes for You" with string and wind accompaniment, she carries the day. In addition to Porter, Harry Warren and Al Dubin, the other composers represented include Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, and Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. The arrangements and conducting are handled masterfully by Bob Thompson, and the mastering of the Japanese CD reissue of the late '90s brings out all of the details in the sound beautifully, and her vocalizing also benefits from the more finely detailed sound. O'Hara's longtime friend, director John Ford, did the jacket notes.

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