Patty Andrews

Dynamic Lead Singer: I'll Walk Alone

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Patty Andrews pursued an off-and-on solo career apart from her siblings in the Andrews Sisters. She split from them in 1954, only to rejoin them two-and-a-half years later in 1956. She again went off on her own in 1968 by necessity, after LaVerne Andrews died and Maxene Andrews temporarily retired. The surviving sisters reunited for the 1974 Broadway musical Over Here and then went their separate ways again. But even during her tenure in the Andrews Sisters, Patty Andrews, as the lead singer, was often pushed to the front. In fact, her first recording without the others came way back in 1937 on "There's a Lull in My Life," as vocalist with bandleader Leon Belasco (a track not included here). Starting in the late '40s, Decca Records began pairing her on record with duet partners like Bob Crosby and Bing Crosby, and particularly after the success of the sisters' 1949 record "I Can Dream, Can't I?," which was essentially a Patty Andrews solo with her sisters on backup vocals, the label increasingly promoted her apart from the group, finally issuing the first Patty Andrews solo single, "Too Young," in 1951. It became her only chart hit. This unlicensed compilation is liberal about using Andrews Sisters' tracks that feature prominent solo passages by Patty Andrews as well as including most, but not all, of her non-trio recordings. In addition to the Crosby brothers, she is heard in the company of Dick Haymes and, on the ten tracks that close disc one, with Red Foley, and she benefits from the interactions. One key to her lack of success as a solo star may have been that she was accustomed to playing off other singers, and while her performances alone can be colorless, she is always sparked by the presence of someone else at the microphone, particularly responding to Bing Crosby on "Be-Bop Spoken Here," for example. Decca and then Capitol Records, which signed her in 1955 and cut half-a-dozen singles (the final 12 tracks on disc two), seem to have thought of her as potentially another Patti Page, largely failing to capitalize on her personality. By the mid-ā€˜50s, she was pretty much trying anything for a hit, and the compilation actually closes with a rock & roll number, "Music Drives Me Crazy." Maybe it was too late by then for a singer in her late thirties, known for her group work, to succeed on her own. But the attempt makes for an intriguing addendum to the career of the Andrews Sisters.

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