Due the permanence of film, Lena Horne may be destined to be best known for her guest appearances in a series of MGM musicals, but her real strength was live performance, whether she was dancing on the stage of the Cotton Club in her teens or sweeping across the stage of a Las Vegas casino hotel in her forties. This discount-priced two-fer reissue captures two of her typical live appearances, one from New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1957, the other from the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in 1960. At both she is supported by her husband, conductor Lennie Hayton. She proves to be the epitome of sophisticated supper-club entertainment, turning in medleys of songs by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Jule Styne, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg. The selections range from pop standards to obscure gems, each of them given a letter-perfect reading in Horne's knowing voice. The singer is just as effective rendering a song like "The Man I Love," which has been recorded many times, as she is introducing her audience to Burt Bacharach's still-unknown "Out of My Continental Mind." Put together on one disc, the two albums (each of which was long for an LP in its day) come off like one almost-80-minute show that is full of delights and discoveries. These are well-balanced nightclub sets, but they are not recitals of Horne's hits; only "Honeysuckle Rose" was a song she sang in one of her movies. Thus, this collection is a good complement to a Horne best-of, with little overlapping material.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann