Ella Fitzgerald

Golden Greats

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Dutch reissue label Disky's three-CD, 74-track Golden Greats compilation of Ella Fitzgerald recordings runs more than three and half hours, which is about the best thing you can say for it. The double jewel box lists song titles and accompanying performers in small print on the back, and that's it for annotations; there isn't even a CD booklet. So, even if you recognize some of the titles, you have no way of knowing that these are second-generation (or worse) transfers of old Decca Records recordings originally made between 1936 and 1951. (The seemingly arbitrary cutoff date is due to European copyright law, which places recordings made more than 50 years ago in the public domain.) Compiler Tony Watts has sequenced the tracks in very rough chronological order; the first disc contains recordings made between 1936 and 1941, the second 1940 to 1946, and the third 1947 to 1951. So, one gets a sense of Fitzgerald's development from the band singer in Chick Webb's orchestra in the '30s to the solo pop singer paired with such labelmates as Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, and the Ink Spots in the early '40s, and on to the jazz-oriented singer of the later '40s who turns songs such as "How High the Moon" (the leadoff track of the third disc) into scat extravaganzas. Sound quality is OK, though occasionally fuzzy. But Universal's GRP label, which claims copyright to this material in the U.S., has done much better reissues of it, and this package can only be recommended to the casual fan for whom the discount price and lengthy running time will be the chief selling points.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
feat: Chick Webb
2:58
2
feat: Chick Webb
2:37
3
feat: Chick Webb
2:35
4
feat: Chick Webb
4:30
5 2:41
6 2:46
7 3:02
8
feat: Chick Webb
3:16
9 2:58
10 3:17
11 3:13
12 3:00
13 2:42
14
feat: Chick Webb
3:13
15 3:12
16
feat: Chick Webb
3:09
17
feat: Chick Webb
3:02
18
feat: Chick Webb
3:13
19 2:33
20 2:50
21 3:04
22 2:46
23
feat: Chick Webb
2:57
24
feat: Chick Webb
2:47

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:44
2 3:18
3 2:54
4 3:06
5 3:11
6 2:42
7 2:44
8 3:00
9 2:54
10 3:23
11
3:00
12
feat: Louis Jordan
2:34
13 2:44
14 2:42
15
feat: Randy Brooks
3:07
16 3:10
17 3:08
18
feat: Vic Schoen
2:27
19 2:54
20
feat: Louis Jordan
2:37
21 2:40
22
feat: Johnny Long
3:15
23 3:14
24 3:12
25
feat: Randy Brooks
3:25

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:15
2 2:33
3 2:26
4
feat: Bob Haggart
3:14
5 3:04 Spotify
6
feat: Louis Jordan
2:41
7 3:12
8 3:05
9 2:53
10 3:05
11
feat: Sonny Burke
3:09
12 2:33
13 2:58
14
feat: Ray Charles
3:17
15 3:02
16 2:26
17 3:01 Spotify
18 2:41
19 3:14
20 2:56
21 3:00
22
feat: Sy Oliver
3:18
23 3:16
24
3:12
25 3:06 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick