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 of 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. The label'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 on the label. However, Capitol released much more than pop music. They 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 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 A ten-page liner notes booklet contains memorabilia, vintage photos, and other previously unpublished eye candy, as well as an essay by musician and music historian, Billy Vera.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 digipack designed to replicate the 78 rpm records and sleeves of the era. With such attention to detail, Volume One: Birth of a Label is a promising start to the From the Vaults series.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer