This document of Glenn Miller's radio broadcasts from the Glen Island Casino in late 1939 and early 1940 is good -- in fact, great -- as far as it goes; but it would be a lot better if more of the performances were complete. It's easy to luxuriate in the "swell" arrangement of "St. Louis Blues," for example, with its gorgeous reed and trumpet parts, but it would be easier to recommend it to casual fans if it didn't end so abruptly. On the other hand, that was one of the technical limits of recording radio broadcasts at the time, and listeners should be grateful that some form of recording was made of these performances and has become available. The fidelity is better than one would expect for live performances of this vintage, even off the radio, and one can fully comprehend how Miller and his band built their national (and ultimately international) following from these broadcast performances. The live ambience is bracing, and among many other virtues, the trombone section reveals itself as an awesome ensemble on "Glen Island Special," and even the vocal numbers hold up. And to be fair, the producers have been honest and forthright enough so that they've listed the tracks that are short or otherwise flawed on the outside of the packaging. And even those early fades and missing beginnings become little more than minor annoyances -- what is here is priceless, and an essential companion volume for anyone who has Miller's studio sides from this period.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder