Beautiful and brassy, tougher than a taxi, and louder than a locomotive, Ethel Merman was the archetypal big-voiced Broadway mama. This bracing compilation of her most beloved studio recordings covers the years 1932 through 1950 without more than a cursory attempt at chronological presentation. Irving Berlin and Cole Porter wrote most of these songs. Other major composers represented here include Walter Donaldson, Harold Arlen, Richard Whiting, and George Gershwin. While high camp was an essential element in her professional life, Ethel Merman's greatest moments on record may be said to occur during songs of love and companionship. "I Get a Kick Out Of You," "You're the Top," and "They Say It's Wonderful" are disarmingly effective precisely because it is Ethel Merman (and not some watered-down soubrette) who is expressing simple heartfelt emotions in her unforgettably persuasive manner. She is also heard in duet performances with Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Ray Middleton, and Dick Haymes.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Bert Lahr
feat: Ray Middleton