Campus Swing

Ozzie Nelson

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Campus Swing Review

by William Ruhlmann

Since, as of 2002, Ozzie Nelson's popular studio recordings of the 1930s, originally released on Brunswick and Bluebird Records, were not in print in the U.S. (The Nelson Touch, a 1996 British release on ASV/Living Era, did contain 25 of them), it is worth pointing out that this budget release does not feature any of those tracks, either. Instead, it gathers 12 radio transcriptions that, according to the liner notes, come from the Standard Transcription Library and were recorded in the early '40s. None of them are performances of Nelson's hits. Most are Nelson compositions of songs long forgotten, a mixture of up-tempo swing instrumentals and pop novelty songs on which Nelson alternates humorous verses with his wife, Harriet Nelson (billed here under her maiden name, Harriet Hilliard, even though the two had married in 1935). The jump tunes are enjoyable and the novelties mildly entertaining, but this album is really a footnote in Nelson's career.

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