Lena Horne

Complete RCA-Victor Black & White Masters

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This excellent compilation from Spain is both more and less than its title suggests. Since its selections run only through 1946, it could hardly present Lena Horne's complete RCA Victor masters; the singer made her last recordings for RCA in 1976. What it does contain is the whole of Horne's first stint at RCA, 1941-1945. On the other hand, there is more here than just her solo RCA recordings and her 1946 tracks for the tiny Black & White label. Also included are her appearances as the featured singer with the orchestras of Noble Sissle, Charlie Barnet, Artie Shaw, and Teddy Wilson, as well as Horne's vocals with the Dixieland Jazz Group, the resident band on the NBC radio show The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. In total, the 44 tracks spread across two CDs and, running two hours and fifteen minutes, present all of Horne's known recordings from 1936 to 1946. (In 2002, RCA uncovered three previously unknown Horne tracks from 1944 and put them on the Bluebird compilation The Young Star.) By placing these recordings in chronological order, the set traces her development from a pleasant but relatively undistinguished band singer of 18 to a 29-year-old veteran who had made her mark on records and in the movies. She is frequently given blues material to perform, and while she manages with it, her real strength is in the jazz- and blues-influenced show tunes of George Gershwin ("The Man I Love," "How Long Has This Been Going On?," "My Man's Gone Now") and Harold Arlen ("Stormy Weather," "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues," "One for My Baby [And One More for the Road]," "As Long as I Live"), though she also has a way with the sophisticated lyrics of Cole Porter ("At Long Last Love") and Lorenz Hart ("Where or When," "Glad to Be Unhappy," "Little Girl Blue"). U.S. retrospectives on Horne tend to be brief samplers; this collection presents her early work as a comprehensive whole, and it does so with good annotations and sound.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Noble Sissle
3:07
2
feat: Noble Sissle
2:46
3 3:20
4 3:02
5 3:13
6
3:03
7 3:02
8 2:47
9 2:49
10 2:58
11 3:05
12 3:07
13
feat: Teddy Wilson
3:29
14
feat: Teddy Wilson
3:23
15 3:23
16 2:41
17 2:31
18 3:21
19 2:44
20 3:12
21 2:56
22 2:41

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:07
2 3:23
3 2:49
4 2:57
5 3:27
6 2:50
7 3:05
8 2:58
9 2:42
10 2:48
11 2:37
12 2:45
13 3:06
14 2:38
15 3:07
16 2:59
17 2:52
18 3:06
19 2:51
20 5:55
21 3:02
22 3:23
blue highlight denotes track pick