The Andrews Sisters

Golden Age of the Andrew Sisters

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Since the 50-year limit on copyrights in Europe has led to a flurry of Andrews Sisters releases beginning in the early '90s, it's worth pointing out that the British Jasmine label is not just another fly-by-night outfit cobbling together a bunch of old 78s. The four-disc Golden Age of the Andrews Sisters, with a running time of more than four-and-three-quarters hours, contains more tracks -- 101 -- than any previously released Andrews Sisters compilation. The sound quality is good, if not as good as the legitimate American reissues on MCA, and the 12-page CD booklet contains basic annotations. That said, the selection is somewhat eccentric. Essentially, this is a "the best and the rest" collection: the first two discs contain all of the Andrews Sisters' Top Ten hits, as ranked in Joel Whitburn's book of chart reconstructions, Pop Memories. For the most part, they are in chronological order, though a handful of tracks that reached numbers ten through 12 are bunched at the end. Discs three and four contain another three chart entries among their 51 tracks, but otherwise ignore the 60 additional Andrews Sisters recordings listed in Whitburn that peaked between numbers 12 and 30 in favor of utterly obscure material; B-sides and records that never sold well enough to earn a chart ranking. This hits-and-misses approach leaves out lots of good and well-remembered Andrews Sisters recordings. It also makes room for some interesting ones, including the sisters' versions of the show tunes "Guys and Dolls" and "Wunderbar" and the swing standard "Sing, Sing, Sing," plus two performances from the soundtrack to Private Buckaroo. (Of course, keeping to the 50-year limit, none of their recordings from after 1951 are included.) This not the ideal Andrews Sisters compilation, but it is far more extensive than any their American copyright holders have produced.

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