Margaret Whiting

Maggie's Back in Town

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As Perry Como and Frank Sinatra led the charge in the shift of pop music's focus from the big bands in the 1940s, female song stylist Margaret Whiting stepped in to become one of the World War II era's (and beyond) most popular female singers. With a career stretching into the '90s, she shared the spotlight with Jo Stafford and Doris Day as a major artist for Capitol Records. This bargain-priced CD collects some of Whiting's most popular hits for that label cut during the '40s and '50s. There's the duet with Johnny Mercer as they act out their seduction tableau '50's style, with "Baby, It's Cold Outside." Whiting was to become one of the better and more frequent interpreters of Mercer's lyrics, although, ironically, there isn't a Mercer composition on this CD. A Whiting favorite on this disk is her 1948 recording of "A Tree in the Meadow," released during the second American Federation of Musicians recordings ban. But by the time of this of this second ban, multi-tracking technology was available. So the musical accompaniment was recorded outside the United States and Whiting's voice dubbed in later. For most tunes, Whiting is backed by large, anonymous, string-laden studio orchestras. But there are some pleasant bumps in that road. "My Ideal" was cut in 1942 with Billy Butterfield's big band and we are treated to an attractive Butterfield trumpet solo on the opening chorus. Of all the cuts on this CD, perhaps the tune most people would associate with Whiting is "Moonlight in Vermont," again cut with Butterfield. Her interpretation stands along side those by Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Smith/Stan Getz as one of the finest renderings of this classic entry in The Great American Songbook. With excellent diction and a heartfelt, straightforward interpretation of every lyric put before her, this hard to find album documents some of the finest recordings of Margaret Whiting, one of popular song's more enduring artists. It is well worth searching for.

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