Al Jolson

California, Here I Come [Conifer]

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Although this album is part of the British Conifer label's "Movie Stars" series, that is not to say that all the selections come from Al Jolson's movies. Rather, as annotator Geoff Milne puts it, "The songs on this LP are from shows, from Jolson's films, and from nowhere in particular -- just popular songs of the day." The description hints at the basically random selection of 20 Jolson recordings originally released on Brunswick Records between 1924 and 1932. Tunes such as "California, Here I Come," "I'm Sitting On Top of the World," "Sonny Boy," and "There's a Rainbow Round My Shoulders" rank among Jolson's most popular records of the period. Others, such as the two selections from Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's score for the Jolson film Hallelujah, I'm a Bum, the title song and "You Are Too Beautiful," Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's "Ol' Man River" from the musical Show Boat, and the Irving Berlin songs "Lazy" and "At Peace With the World," give us an opportunity to hear the singer addressing material by some of the superior songwriters of the era. But much of the album consists of songs shaped to Jolson (who cut himself in on writing credits for seven of them) that nevertheless are not among his most memorable performances. Jolson fans may want to look for this disc for exactly that reason -- there are songs here that are rarely reissued. But anyone looking for a collection of Jolson's best should look elsewhere. (Sound quality is good considering the vintage of the recordings, but no sonic improvements have been made.)

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:32
2 03:01
3 02:54
4 02:34
5 02:45
feat: Abe Lyman
7 03:01
8 03:03
9 03:22
10 03:14
11 03:00
12 02:30
13 03:18
14 02:33
16 02:49
17 02:35
18 03:09
19 03:00
20 03:27
blue highlight denotes track pick