Ella Fitzgerald

Classic Decade

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British budget reissue label Prism Leisure takes advantage of the 50-year copyright limit in Europe to slap together this 25-track, 73-minute compilation of early Ella Fitzgerald recordings originally released on 78 RPM discs by Decca Records in the second half of the 1930s and the first half of the 1940s. Fitzgerald was the singer with Chick Webb & His Orchestra when she sang on the hits "Sing Me a Swing Song (And Let Me Dance)"; "A-Tisket, a-Tasket"; its follow-up, "I Found My Yellow Basket"; and "T'Ain't What You Do (It's the Way That Cha Do It)." By the time she made hits out of "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" (accompanied by the Ink Spots) and "It's Only a Paper Moon" (backed by the Delta Rhythm Boys) in the 1940s, she was on her own. The collection also captures her versions of standards such as "My Melancholy Baby" and "Little White Lies," along with some oddities. Her version of Cole Porter's suggestive "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" has been bowdlerized to such an extent its lyric no longer makes any sense, and, with her happy approach to singing, she is the last one who should be tackling the masochistic torch song "My Man." Crackles are occasionally audible from the old 78s Prism Leisure has mastered to create this disc, and overall sound quality is OK, but not to be compared with the better-put-together collections of the same material put out by MCA. (Of course, those collections are much more expensive, too.)

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:04
2 3:08
3 2:54
4 2:38
5 3:03
6 3:04
7 3:18
8 3:01
9 3:10
10 3:07
11 3:11
12 2:34
13 2:38
14 2:37
15 3:21
16 2:36
17 2:34
18 3:09
19 3:06
20 2:51
21 2:39
22 3:20
23 2:32
24 2:21
25 2:57
blue highlight denotes track pick