Betty Comden

Show Music at Its Best, Vol. 1

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Before Betty Comden and Adolph Green turned their attention to writing lyrics, librettos, and screenplays, they were part of a performing group called the Revuers. The spirit of that group was rekindled in 1955, when Comden and Green recorded an album for Heritage Records of songs they had written for the five Broadway musicals they had worked on up to that point, plus one song ("French Lesson") they had written for the movies. Though they had appeared in the first of their musicals, On the Town, you could see why they ultimately retired to the typewriter: they were more enthusiastic than talented as singers. Nevertheless, there was, as always, a special flavor to material performed by the people who had written it, and by choosing songs from various sources, they effectively displayed the consistency of their wit and craftsmanship across different projects. Thus, the lusty "Taxi Song" (On the Town) shared a sensibility and a mood, as well as a remarkable verbal facility, with "French Lesson" (Good News) and "If" (Two on the Aisle), while songs like "Some Other Time" (On the Town), "How Will He Know" (Two on the Aisle), and "Quiet Girl" (Wonderful Town) had a similar wistfulness. Even after only a decade in a career that would continue several decades more, Comden and Green had a distinct identity as songwriters, and it came out better on their own album than it had in any of their shows. This album was reissued on CD in 1998, combined with the Comden/Green album It's Always Fair Weather, under the title Perform Their Own Songs.

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