Jimmy Dorsey

Amapola [ASV/Living Era]

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It's truly disgraceful that MCA, which owns Jimmy Dorsey's classic sides, has so poorly served his pop recordings that an unauthorized British outfit like ASV can come up with a definitive Dorsey pop music collection. The songs here include a dozen chart-toppers and a dozen more recordings that made it to the top five, variously featuring Bing Crosby, Bob Eberly, Helen O'Connell, Kitty Kallen, and the Andrews Sisters. The songs are of minimal interest to jazz fans, but to those who enjoy big band music, it is well nigh impossible to ignore the virtuosity in this band. Even on a pop chestnut like the Crosby-sung "I'm an Old Cowhand," Dorsey's all-too-brief clarinet solo will make fans of his jazz work take notice. The problem is that there aren't nearly as many virtuoso numbers as there are pop songs and novelty-type tunes (the Andrews Sisters' "Hold Tight is included, as it was recorded with Dorsey) -- even there, however, on a number like "Deep Purple," Dorsey himself takes an exquisite solo. Helen O'Connell even retains her dignity as a singer on "Six Lessons From Madame La Zonga," so a few of the novelty tunes do hold up, but Bob Eberly can be a chore to listen to ("Tangerine" being a notable exception), and it's easy to see how and why Tommy Dorsey ran ahead of his older brother as a pop outfit with the services of Frank Sinatra at his disposal. The hits run from "I'm an Old Cowhand," cut on July 11, 1936, through "When They Ask About You" (featuring Kitty Kallen), recorded on October 27, 1943. The remastering, apparently off of original 78s and supervised by Peter Dempsey and David Lennick, is very good (though the sound on the musically superior Contrasts CD is somewhat better), with minimal noise or distortion and a healthy volume throughout.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:42
2 3:01
3 3:05
4 2:57
5 3:07
6 3:14
7 3:16
8 3:03
9 2:58
10 3:01
11 3:15
12 3:28
13 3:09
14 3:08
15 3:01
16 3:17
17 3:12
19 3:13
20 2:58
21 3:02
22 3:08
23 3:07
24 2:57
blue highlight denotes track pick