Various Artists

Commercial Break: The Old Tunes from the New Ads

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Even more than most Living Era compilations, Commercial Break automatically pops out of context if the listener is either not British or doesn't watch British television. One may enjoy Louis Armstrong singing "Jeepers Creepers" even without realizing that this recording was later used to sell Ford Escorts or Sure Sensitive Cosmetics. Jack Hylton's 1930 recording of "Happy Feet" is a historical gem all on its own, even without the intervention of Clark's Shoes. For a touch of inadvertent indigestion, consider how Sylvester Weaver and Walter Beasley's attractive slide guitar duet on "Bottleneck Blues" (an instrumental masterpiece) and Duke Ellington's marvelous "Jungle Jamboree" were both co-opted by McDonald's. (Note also that tracks four and five are switched, placing the Savoy Orpheans' rendition of "Sweet and Lovely" where one expects to find Ellington.) Thrusting all of this cultural mayhem aside, what you get on this disc is a 25-track sampler of vintage music recorded in both England and the U.S.A. between 1927 and 1946. This is a variety show of unusual diversity. Here are Ted Lewis, Xavier Cugat and Fred Astaire, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Fats Waller, Sam Browne singing "The Sun Has Got His Hat On" with Ambrose & His Orchestra, and Charles Trenet singing "Boum!" on behalf of PPP Healthcare. Here too are Eddie Cantor and Dinah Shore, Django Reinhardt and Doris Day, and an actual excerpt from the 1942 motion picture Casablanca with the voices of Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Dooley Wilson at the piano singing "As Time Goes By." It's worth having the whole disc just for these two minutes and 53 seconds of vintage film soundtrack.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:43
2 3:09
3 2:56
4 3:22
5 3:06
6 3:03
7 3:19
8 2:52
9 3:25
10 2:56
11 2:29
12 3:22
13 2:53
14 4:27
15 2:41
16 2:36
17 3:33
18 3:11
19 2:08
20
2:51
21 2:09
22 2:24
23 3:17
24 2:54
25
2:53
blue highlight denotes track pick