Cole Porter: An All-Star Tribute

Cole Porter

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Cole Porter: An All-Star Tribute Review

by William Ruhlmann

This album, the audio complement to a video of the same name, presents an episode of the television series The Bell Telephone Hour broadcast on January 28, 1964, in tribute to Cole Porter. Porter, who would die later the same year, was hailed primarily by the show's hostess, Ethel Merman, who had starred in five of his musicals on Broadway. Joining her was Gretchen Wyler, who had had a featured role in Porter's 1955 show Silk Stockings, along with John Raitt, a Broadway star not generally associated with Porter, and singer Martha Wright. Also joining in was pianist Peter Nero. This cast managed to get through 52 Porter titles in 47 minutes, which should give some sense of how much attention they gave to each song. Most were merely alluded to in lengthy medleys, given a chorus or a verse, although Nero performed "Night and Day" in its entirety and the show's orchestra did "Begin the Beguine." Merman dominated, which was appropriate, since many of the songs she sang had been written with her in mind. The disc adds six tracks from another Merman appearance on The Bell Telephone Hour four years earlier on January 29, 1960, during which she sang a more varied program including works by Irving Berlin and George and Ira Gershwin. As a result, this is largely an Ethel Merman album, even if Cole Porter's picture is on the cover.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman 04:09 Amazon
2 Cole Porter feat: Peter Nero 02:57 Amazon
3 Cole Porter feat: John Raitt / Martha Wright 10:20 Amazon
4 Cole Porter feat: Gretchen Wyler 03:40 Amazon
5 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman 08:53 Amazon
6 Cole Porter feat: Peter Nero 06:03 Amazon
7 Cole Porter 02:38 Amazon
8 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman / Peter Nero / John Raitt / Martha Wright / Gretchen Wyler 08:22 Amazon
9 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman 01:55 Amazon
10 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman 00:53 Amazon
11 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman 02:00 Amazon
12 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman 01:40 Amazon
13 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman 02:49 Amazon
14 Cole Porter feat: Ethel Merman 00:55 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick