With the rise in popularity of the Broadway cast album in the 1940s, Columbia Records producer Goddard Lieberson decided to record albums of the music from earlier shows that had not been collected on LPs previously. In the wake of the massive success of South Pacific in 1949, Columbia signed Mary Martin, the show's star, to a recording contract, and in 1950 Lieberson took her into a studio with an orchestra and chorus and recorded this album of songs from 1934's Anything Goes and another from 1931's The Band Wagon. It wasn't quite a studio cast album, since it had only one featured singer, who was not assigned a single character to portray, but it wasn't quite a regular solo album, either. The orchestra handled the overture, and the chorus was featured by itself on "There'll Always Be a Lady Fair." Martin sang "You're the Top," "All Through the Night," "Anything Goes," and "I Get a Kick Out of You," and the chorus joined her on "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and the "Finale." The show, of course, was associated with Martin's chief rival, Ethel Merman, and as she had in her portrayal of Annie Oakley (another Merman stage creation) in Annie Get Your Gun, Martin treated the songs of Anything Goes' Reno Sweeney differently from Merman's brassy performances. Typically, her interpretations were warm and winning and playful. This did not erase memories of Merman, but Martin was at her best on the romantic "All Through the Night," which was more her sort of song. At the time of its release, this album was the only collection of music from Anything Goes available, which made it particularly valuable.
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