Cole Porter

High Society

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In 1992, the Indiana Historical Society marked native son Cole Porter's centenary a year late by issuing the box set You're the Top: Cole Porter in the 1930s. The organization followed in 1999 with another box that surveyed the rest of Porter's career, You're Sensational: Cole Porter in the '20s, '40s & '50s. In 2002, the three discs from that collection were released separately. This is the third of them, covering 1948-1956 and named after the 1956 movie musical that featured a Porter score. The organizing principle of both of the boxes, explained in the liner notes (which are not included here), was to take Porter's work in chronological order by show and film, but not by date of actual recording. Thus, this volume, High Society, mixes a 1982 Bobby Short performance of "I Am in Love" from 1953's Can-Can with recordings of songs from the show made much closer to its premiere. It also includes performances done in a variety of styles. Several tracks are taken from original Broadway cast or motion picture soundtracks; others are instrumental jazz treatments, usually presented after a vocal version of the same song has already been provided, such as pianist Marian McPartland's recording of "From This Moment On" from the musical Out of This World, which follows a live performance of the same song by Rosemary Clooney. There are some wonderful performers, including Mel Tormé, Jo Stafford, Frank Sinatra, Erroll Garner, Fred Astaire, Louis Armstrong, and Bing Crosby, and some classic Porter songs, such as "It's All Right with Me," "I Love Paris," "All of You," "True Love," and "You're Sensational." But this is more a scholar's Cole Porter than a casual listener's, and a great deal is lost in terms of comprehension by the elimination of the extensive annotations that accompanied the box set.

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