Mary Martin

Cole Porter Songs

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Twenty-four-year-old Mary Martin's career was launched by her performance of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in the Cole Porter musical Leave It to Me in 1938. By early 1940, Martin had starred in her first film, The Great Victor Herbert, and her next stage musical, Nice Goin', had closed out of town. She was on her way to Hollywood with a Paramount contract and a part on the NBC radio show Good News of 1940. But she also had a contract with Decca Records, and while still in New York she cut a series of sessions that produced a collection of three 78s called Decca Presents Mary Martin in an Album of Cole Porter Songs. The selling point of the albums was that they included "the complete version" of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," a version that used a few more of Porter's lyrics than Martin's 1938 Brunswick Records recording had, but still left some out. Accompanied by an orchestra led by Ray Sinatra, she also addressed five other recent Porter compositions, several employing the same suggestiveness found in "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," though she did so without much of the kittenish appeal that characterized her stage portrayals (and that had been audible in her first recording of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"). This was more a Mary Martin aiming for mature, refined interpretations, even when presenting Porter lyrics that winked shamelessly at the listener, such as those for "Katie Went to Haiti" and "Let's Do It." Whether to get by the censors or to present herself in a more acceptable style, Martin toned things down on her debut album.