The title of this compilation, All-Time Greatest Hits, is misleading. That's no disrespect to the material here, which is mostly very good. It's just not Louis Armstrong's all-time greatest. These 18 tracks come from Armstrong's "pop" era, the final decades of his career where, under the tutelage of producer Milt Gabler and arranger Gordon Jenkins, the jazz pioneer moved full-bore into a genial form of heavily orchestrated pop music. The Armstrong of this era, a large, bear-like man with an infectious laugh and a gravelly voice, immaculately dressed in a crisp suit with a white linen handkerchief in one hand and a rarely played trumpet in the other, has become the iconic image of the man, which unfairly relegates his best, most passionate and most influential work to the background. "What a Wonderful World," "Hello Dolly," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," and "When You're Smiling" are masterful pop songs, and this well-annotated, perfectly remastered set does them justice. But when a compilation calls itself Louis Armstrong's All-Time Greatest Hits yet doesn't include "Dippermouth Blues," "Yes! I'm in the Barrel," or "Struttin' With Some Barbecue," just to name a few, it's difficult to agree with the name.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason
feat: Bing Crosby