Mary Martin

The Decca Years 1938-1946

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Though Mary Martin is best remembered for her starring roles in Broadway musicals like South Pacific and The Sound of Music, she dabbled in movie musicals and studio recordings, especially near the start of her career in the late '30s and early '40s. Contracted to Decca Records off and on during this period, she made a series of singles and one album of three 78s, Mary Martin in an Album of Cole Porter Songs (1940). This anthology presents 16 examples of her record work, including all six cuts from the Porter album (one of which is a re-recording of her breakthrough song, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"), songs featured in her motion pictures of the period ("Ain't It a Shame About Mame?" and "I Don't Want to Cry Anymore" from Rhythm on the River [1940], the title song from Kiss the Boys Goodbye [1940] and, with Bing Crosby, "The Waiter and the Upstairs Maid" and "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie" from Birth of the Blues [1941]), and other stray tracks, concluding with "Mountain High, Valley Low" from the original Broadway cast album of the musical, Lute Song (1946). Martin's only real hit of the period, her cover of "I'll Walk Alone" (1944), which was a bigger hit for Dinah Shore, is included. The album is to be commended for illuminating a previously obscure area in the career of a great singing talent, who shines with her characteristic warmth in many of the performances. The only question is why, on a disc running only 45 minutes, more of Martin's Decca recordings weren't included.

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