From the Vaults is a multi-disc series commemorating the 60th anniversary of Capitol Records. Volume one, Birth of a Label, compiles 25 of the earliest sides issued by the label's collective brain trust: songwriters Buddy DeSylva, Johnny Mercer, and record shop proprietor Glenn Wallichs. Although many of these tunes quickly became pop standards, several have never been issued on CD before -- and of those that have previously entered the digital domain, most were transferred from sonically challenged vinyl. Tremendous care has been taken on the From the Vaults series to track down the best possible source materials. The extra effort pays off immeasurably. Capitol's incipient recordings were, as one might imagine, an ideal vehicle for Mercer's dynamic compositions. "Strip Polka," "Trav'lin' Light," and "G.I. Jive" are among his earliest pieces for the label and are included on this volume. However, the label quickly became recognized for the variety of sounds released under their moniker. Some of Capitol's earliest hits were taken from motion picture soundtracks. "My Ideal," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," "Moonlight Becomes You," and the seasonal favorite "White Christmas" are among the baker's dozen of movie songs featured on this release. Other genres to be represented by Capitol ranged from jazz ("Trav'lin' Light") to boogie-woogie ("Cow Cow Boogie"), and even early R&B ("Riffette"). A 10-page liner notes booklet contains memorabilia, vintage photos, and other previously unpublished eye candy, as well as an essay by musician and music historian Billy Vera. Initial pressings -- limited to 10,000 -- are cleverly packaged in a digi-pack designed to replicate the 78 rpm records and sleeves of the era. With such attention to sonic as well as visual detail, Vol. One: Birth of a Label is a promising start to the series.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer