Original Broadway Cast

Mexican Hayride [Original Cast Recording]

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The musical Mexican Hayride, with songs by Cole Porter, was a hit when it opened on Broadway on January 28, 1944, managing a run of 481 performances that lasted until March 17, 1945. To a large extent, its success was due to factors that cannot be appreciated on the cast album. Those factors include the chorus girls who thrilled audiences packed with soldiers and sailors on leave from fighting in World War II, and comedian Bobby Clark, who starred in the show with June Havoc. Clark did have songs in the show, the most prominent of them being the boastful "Girls," but he does not appear on the album, his place taken on that song by second lead Wilbur Evans, while a male chorus replaces his lines in "Count Your Blessings." The main elements retained from the stage production are Havoc, Evans, and most of Porter's songs. (Missing are the opening choral number, called "Entrance of Montana," and "The Good-Will Movement." Porter also wrote many other songs that were cut before the show opened on Broadway.) The most memorable song in the score, necessarily, is the ballad "I Love You," because Decca recording artist Bing Crosby recorded it for a number one hit during the show's run. The big-voiced Evans handles it well here. Havoc is given several comic numbers, among them the Porter list song "There Must Be Someone for Me." The songs are catchy and amusing, but this is not top-drawer Porter by any means, and as a result the Mexican Hayride cast album is not one of the better ones to feature his music. So, it's not surprising that, after its initial release as a four-LP set in 1944, and a reissue on a 10" LP in 1950, it languished out of print for more than half-a-century until Decca Broadway finally brought it out on CD in 2004, adding the entire contents of Mary Martin's 1940 album Cole Porter Songs as bonus tracks. On this six-song album, Martin, who had first come to public attention singing the sexy "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in Porter's 1938 musical Leave It to Me, performed that song along with other suggestive Porter titles like "Katie Went to Haiti" and "Let's Do It." But she toned down the risqué elements, seeming intent on presenting a more mature persona to record buyers. As a result, while the recordings are welcome back into print and make a nice bonus here, they are not among Martin's best.

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