Petula Clark spent the 1950s making a name for herself as one of Great Britain's best known and highly regarded female pop vocalists. With All My Heart is Castle's survey of the most successful recordings she made between 1956 and 1959. (For the best material from this segment of her career, go directly to disc number two.) This anthology is named for the Nixa record label, founded in 1950 and absorbed by Pye records in 1953. Clark, who worked for Nixa/Pye from 1955-1962, soon became their most popular artist. The first disc presents 25 tunes originally issued as 45 rpm singles. Unfortunately, the excellence of Clark's rendering of George Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm" is overshadowed by a cotton candy cloud of lesser songs, often larded with dopey arrangements and gee-whiz backup vocals. Seeing as most people who know or care about Petula Clark associate her with '60s sunshine pop, this choke-sized wedge of mid- to late-'50s production numbers might at first seem a bit overbearing, even if it does act as a fascinating prologue to "Downtown" and "My Love." Some of this stuff's really peculiar. "Little Blue Man," for example, is phenomenally stupid. On the brighter side, here's a golden opportunity to hear what this woman was up to during the Eisenhower Era. Disc two opens up with a series of recordings that seem like minor masterpieces when compared with most of the singles compiled on disc one. Given room to relax and savor some measure of dignity, the singer is able to weave her spells around relatively substantial songs like "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face," "Too Darn Hot," "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" and "As Time Goes By." These are among the most jazz-like recordings Clark would ever make. The rest of this remarkably diverse compilation is packed with 11 tasty numbers sung in French; one beautifully voiced in German, and a half-dozen wholesome hymns and holiday favorites intended for use during the Christmas season.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2