Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire Sings

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A part of MCA's discount-priced 1980s Collectables series, this is a ten-track abridged reissue of the 12-track 1959 Kapp Records album Now!, one of the few non-soundtrack recordings Fred Astaire made after the 1930s. Even so, Astaire mostly rerecorded songs associated with his motion pictures, such as "Change Partners," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," and "They All Laughed," in 1950s arrangements backed by an orchestra and chorus conducted by Pete King. A notable exception is "The Afterbeat," composed by Astaire himself, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, which was introduced on Now! and featured in the 1959 TV special Another Evening With Fred Astaire. Astaire's voice had gained a few lower notes by his late 50s, and these are effective, if inessential performances. It's puzzling that MCA, in reissuing the album on CD, didn't bother to restore the two deleted tracks (they are both medleys, one of "The Girl on the Magazine Cover," "I Love to Quarrel With You," and "Along Came Ruth," the other of "Oh, Lady Be Good," "Puttin' on the Ritz," and "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails"), since a running time under 29 minutes is short for an LP, not to mention a CD.

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