Margaret Whiting

Spotlight on Margaret Whiting [Great Ladies of Song]

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This album is another in the Capitol Records Great Ladies of Song series, which so far has produced compilations by such artists as Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, Keely Smith and Kay Starr, among others. Maggie Whiting was one of the label's brightest pop stars of the 1940s and '50s, when Capitol had more top-flight singers, male and female, in its stable than any other company. It is these years from which this material comes. Most of the tunes are slow ballads on which Whiting is accompanied by large, string-laden orchestras, almost all conducted by Frank DeVol. Strings notwithstanding, there are many memorable, enjoyable performances here. "He's Funny That Way" is a 1947 recording honoring her father, Richard Whiting, who penned the tune with Neil Moret. On "If I Had You," recorded in 1946, Whiting is backed by Paul Weston. "But Beautiful" reached #21 on the pop chart in 1948, and "My Foolish Heart" #17 in 1950. Although not a jazz singer, she often worked with jazz musicians; two of the cuts, "But Not for Me" and "Someone to Watch Over Me," feature the trumpet of Billy Butterfield. On "I Could Write a Book," Whiting is backed by her then-husband Lou Busch, who was better known as Joe "Fingers" Carr. The languorous mood is interrupted from time to time by a swinger. One of the most notable is "Nobody But You," where Whiting is joined by the Crew Chiefs, remembered for their work with Glenn Miller. As a bonus, Capitol has included two previously unreleased items, "I Get a Kick out of You" and a swinging 1955 rendition of "Back in Your Own Backyard." This album is an agreeable return of those halcyon days of the 1950s when good singers like Whiting filled the landscape before the rock invasion. Like many of her contemporaries, she was often required to sing some rather awful stuff. Fortunately, this album sticks with classic standards from the Great American Songbook, which Whiting delivers with her clear, very pleasant voice.

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