Joni James

Platinum & Gold: The MGM Years

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Prior to Platinum & Gold: MGM Years, there had not been a definitive compilation featuring pop vocalist Joni James' literally dozens of chart hits. This was certainly not due to lack of interest, but rather that James owns her own master tapes and has been picky -- to say the least -- with regards to whom she relinquishes her music to. There have been a few "best-of" collections on CD; however, none have been sourced from the "original and authentic MGM analogue masters." Nor can they boast 40-plus tracks with a total running time of over two hours. James and her husband/musical director Tony Acquaviva were responsible for a somewhat unfathomable string of hits -- including over a dozen in the Top Ten during her first year with MGM. Additionally, her multi-million-selling single "There Goes My Heart" was the very first 45 rpm record to be cut in stereo. Trivia aside, James' success is truly her own, as she picked all the material she chose to sing and even retained her master tapes -- which was simply unheard of in the late '50s and early '60s. As a vocalist, Joni James maintains an ageless purity and wholesomeness that practically defines pre-rock & roll pop music. Yet she has a very modern sound, as her arrangements are tasteful -- rather than the grandiose nature usually associated with orchestrated pop. "Is This the End of the Line?," "I Still Get a Thrill," "Maybe Next Time," "Everyday," and "Wishing Ring" are delivered with an uncanny freshness. This defies the often cookie-cutter and otherwise generic standards of a Doris Day, Jeri Southern, or Julie London warbling over a cascade of syrupy strings. A glance at the track list of Platinum & Gold: MGM Years reveals hits and nothing but hits -- many of her 45s were double-sided chart-toppers -- including "How Lucky You Are" b/w "Give Us This Day"; "Am I in Love" b/w "Maybe Next Time"; "Everyday" b/w "In A Garden of Roses"; and "I Get a Thrill" b/w "Perhaps." This is indeed a collection that will thrill her first generation of fans, as well as garner her the well-deserved respect in the years to come.

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