Fred Astaire

Three Evenings with Fred Astaire (The Medleys)

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In 1958, 1959, and 1960, Fred Astaire starred in three television specials, An Evening with Fred Astaire, Another Evening with Fred Astaire, and Astaire Time. In each one, he performed a medley of songs he had introduced in his stage and movie musicals of the past, and those three medleys make up the bulk of this LP. Astaire is accompanied by an orchestra conducted by David Rose as he sings excerpts from standards by Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, and others, his audiences breaking into applause at the recognition of each successive song. Something is lost without the visual aspect, particularly during the second medley, when the Bill Thompson Singers take up "Puttin' on the Ritz" as Astaire clearly is off dancing. The LP puts the first two medleys on the first side and, having extra time to fill on the second, begins with two full-length songs that were performed in Astaire Time but were not part of the medley, both of them comedy numbers by Porter: "Miss Otis Regrets" and "Mrs. Lowsborough Goodby." This material was not recorded with an eye toward commercial disc release, and the sound quality is not always high. But Astaire is his usual charming self, and especially on the Porter songs he comes across well. And as he sings snatches from so many songs he sang in the movies, the listener becomes more and more amazed that one performer could be associated with so many classics.

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