This unauthorized gray-market disc collects music from three Hollywood musicals of the 1930s and ‘40s, mastered directly from the soundtracks in only fair, sometimes muddled sound quality. Two of the films make a good match. Rose of Washington Square (1939) is a thinly veiled biography of the Ziegfeld Follies comedienne Fanny Brice (whose story was told without changing the names in Funny Girl 25 years later) with Alice Faye as the Brice-like character and Al Jolson essentially playing himself as he had been decades earlier. For purposes of the album, little of the story remains (there is a little dialogue), but Jolson re-creates many of his old hits and Faye sings some period music, including Brice's signature torch song "My Man," as well as the newly written Mack Gordon/Harry Revel tune "I Never Knew Heaven Could Speak." The Dolly Sisters (1945) is an entirely fictional tale of a female vaudeville act of the 1910s featuring Betty Grable and June Haver, who also get to sing some period music and a few newly written songs by Mack Gordon (a lyricist) and several composers including Revel, such as "I Can't Begin to Tell You" (music by James V. Monaco). In between these complementary soundtracks is a selection of songs from Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), a Busby Berkeley musical with songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, plus a cast including Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, and Ginger Rogers. "We're in the Money" gives the upside of the Great Depression, while "Remember My Forgotten Man" is an economic lament in the manner of "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" The songs serve as the springboards for elaborate Berkeley production numbers that are not visible here. This is good music, but it probably should have been paired with similar fare such as 42nd Street and Gold Diggers of 1935 instead of Rose of Washington Square and The Dolly Sisters.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann