Jo Stafford

Coming Back Like a Song: 25 Hits 1941-47

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The selection on this compilation of Jo Stafford's early recordings is flawless. A legend on the sleeve reads "25 hits 1941-1947," and that is nearly accurate, as the 74-and-a-half-minute disc contains every Top Ten hit -- all 18 of them -- on which Stafford sang a lead vocal in the almost seven years under consideration. Stafford began that period as one of four members of the Pied Pipers, the vocal group that was part of Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, but Dorsey gradually let her sing without the group, notably on the hits "Yes, Indeed!" (a duet with its composer and arranger, Sy Oliver) and "Manhattan Serenade." Leaving Dorsey, the Pipers signed to Capitol Records, and Stafford also signed as a solo artist, though she continued to record with the group at first, scoring with their reading of "The Trolley Song" even as she was having solo hits that started with "It Could Happen to You." By 1945, she had left the Pipers, though she rejoined them and Capitol label head Johnny Mercer on the chart-topping "Candy." Ironically, her only other number one hit during this period came with her comic country rendition of "Temptation," credited to Red Ingle & the Natural Seven, under the pseudonym Cinderella G. Stump. In addition to including all the major hits in chronological order by recording date, compiler Peter Dempsey has thrown in a few obscurities, notably two jazzy recordings, "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home?" and "I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time," on which Stafford is backed by the King Cole Trio and two horns. Mastered from 78s, the tracks are not of the best sound quality, but they are adequate, and the selection makes this the essential early Jo Stafford collection.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:31
2 3:14
3 3:04
4 2:54
5 2:41
6 2:58
7 3:01
8 3:10
9 3:15
10 2:43
11 2:26
12 2:51
13 2:48
14 3:05
15 2:41
16 3:01
17 3:01
18 3:11
feat: Red Ingle
21 2:49
22 2:41
23 2:55
24 2:46
25 3:01
blue highlight denotes track pick