Various Artists

The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 1: 1920-1927 [OSA/Radio History]

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The first volume in the German History label's 15-volume box set The History of Pop Radio covers an eight-year period taking up the bulk of the 1920s. The most popular recording artists of the era are heavily represented; Paul Whiteman contributes two tracks (his massive hit "Whispering" and his memorable performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" with George Gershwin), Al Jolson is featured on three, and Gene Austin on seven. The compilers have not for the most part chosen the most successful songs of the era, but rather have sampled some of the most memorable, including standards written by Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, and Henderson-DeSylva-Brown. No information is provided about the sources of the recordings. The title would suggest that they come from Airchecks, but they usually sound like the original studio recordings, transferred from records and cleaned up. (The sound quality is generally quite good.) Two of the Jolson titles, "Blue Skies" and "Toot Toot Tootsie," are taken from the soundtrack to the 1927 film The Jazz Singer, complete with dialogue.

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