Lena Horne

The Best of the RCA Years

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Primarily thought of as a nightclub singer, Lena Horne gained her greatest visibility as a recording artist during several stints with RCA Victor Records, 1941-45, 1955-62, 1975-76, and 1983. This 16-track, 57-and-a-half-minute compilation draws its material from the 1955-62 period, during which she recorded six singles, eight solo albums, a duo album of Porgy And Bess with Harry Belafonte, and the original Broadway cast album of Jamaica, activities that resulted in several chart entries and Grammy nominations. This album contains "Love Me or Leave Me," her sole chart single for RCA, from 1955, and it relies heavily on her live recordings, including selections from the albums Lena Horne at the Waldorf Astoria and Lena Horne at the Sands, and the EP Lena Horne at the Coconut Grove. It also emphasizes the singer's affinity for such classic pop writers as Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Harold Arlen. There are some surprising omissions, among them a version of her signature song, "Stormy Weather" (the title of one of her RCA albums of the period), and such Jamaica songs as "Push De Button." Maybe that's just to say that Horne deserved a more ambitious compilation of this title, a full-length two-CD set encompassing her entire time at the label. As it is, this is an adequate sampler of the recordings she made during a seven-year period in her late thirties and early forties. Even for the RCA catalog, it's only a part of the story.

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