Various Artists

First Ladies of Song [ASV/Living Era]

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AllMusic Review by

The Living Era label has many single-artist collections that deal separately with the finest females in the jazz vocal realm, but nothing to match this, a six-hour bonanza of material. Featuring five songs each by 25 artists, First Ladies of Song makes good on its promise to deliver songs by the "greatest American songstresses." (For the record, they are Ethel Waters, Ruth Etting, Annette Hanshaw, Ivie Anderson, Mildred Bailey, Connee Boswell, Maxine Sullivan, Frances Langford, Billie Holiday, Lee Wiley, Helen Ward, Dinah Shore, Lena Horne, Helen Forrest, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, Peggy Lee, Jo Stafford, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Kay Starr, Sarah Vaughan, Margaret Whiting, Patti Page, and Rosemary Clooney.) The inclusions, though considered de rigeur by serious vocal fanatics, are usually among the best in each singer's repertoire -- except in the cases of Fitzgerald, Holiday, and O'Day, who enjoyed highly artistic careers beyond the big-band era. The only critical absence on this monumental collection is Dinah Washington's.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:13
2 3:24
3 3:14
4 3:02
5 3:21
6 3:23
7 2:39
8 3:16
9 2:49
10
3:08
11 2:52
12 2:59
13 3:03
14
2:58
15 2:54
16 3:12
17 3:24
18 2:39
19 2:42
20 3:20
21 3:13
22 3:07
23 3:09
24 3:17
25 2:37

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:41
2 2:34
3 3:11
4 2:56
5 3:15
6 2:58
7 3:06
8 3:04
9 3:04
10
2:47
11 2:49
12 3:05
13 2:44
14 2:45
15 3:26
16 3:05
17 3:02
18 3:12
19 3:09
20 3:06
21 2:49
22 2:53
23 3:25
24 2:28
25 3:19

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:32
2 2:35
3 2:42
4 2:48
5 2:54
6 3:12
7 3:25
8 3:23
9 2:05
10 2:44
11 3:24
12 3:30
13 2:45
14 3:22
15 3:25
16 3:23
17 2:49
18 3:12
19 3:26
20 3:02
21 2:38
22 3:04
23 3:27
24 3:17
25 3:21

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:43
2 2:53
3 3:08
4 2:47
5 2:26
6 3:14
7 2:54
8 3:02
9
3:00
10 3:22
11 2:57
12 2:40
13 3:13
14 2:50
15 3:03
16 3:12
17 3:06
18 2:35
19 3:27
20 2:44
21 2:52
22
2:59
23 2:52
24 2:56
25 2:56

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:07
2 2:51
3 2:28
4 2:59
5 2:27
6 3:32
7 3:05
8 3:14
9 3:16
10 3:11
11 3:15
12 3:13
13
3:06
14 2:40
15 3:16
16 3:04
17 3:15
18 2:59
19 3:00
20 3:17
21 2:47
22 2:57
23 2:01
24 3:28
25 3:12
blue highlight denotes track pick