During her heyday in the '30s and '40s, Marlene Dietrich made occasional studio recordings and sang in several of her films. This two-CD British budget compilation brings together the bulk of these performances, albeit with scant documentation to clue the listener in to what is being presented. The set leads off with Dietrich's first signature song, "Falling in Love Again," a 1930 studio recording made concurrently with her performance of it in the film The Blue Angel. From then on, things run roughly chronologically, starting with Dietrich's first appearance on records in 1928 with "Something in the Air," actually an 8½-minute medley of material from a theatrical revue of the same name. There are other studio recordings in German, French, and English of songs from The Blue Angel, as well as other songs made in Germany between 1928 and 1931. After The Blue Angel, Dietrich went to Hollywood, where she sang in Morocco (1931). A six-track Paris studio session for Polydor from 1933 is followed by soundtrack segments from Blonde Venus (1932) and Desire (1936). There is a live recording of "Quand L'amour Meurt" from 1939, and then three studio recordings of songs from Destry Rides Again (1939). From the '40s come soundtrack recordings from Seven Sinners (1940) and A Foreign Affair (1948), as well as a 1945 rendition of another Dietrich signature song, "Lili Marlene." All told, that's more than two-and-a-quarter hours of vintage recordings that trace Dietrich's recording and filmmaking career from her start at age 26 in 1928 to its maturity in 1949. As her movie career declined, she turned more to singing, so she no doubt did more recording after 1949 than before. But, as heard here, her basic approach and most of her best-remembered songs were already in place. One might wish that the sound quality was better, and that there were annotations that gave a sense of the recordings as well as basic facts. But a big, important chunk of Marlene Dietrich's work as a singer is contained on this album.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2