This opening volume in Dynamic Sounds' Hit Parade CD series -- covering the 1940s and a big chunk of the '50s -- comes off as one of the best of the lot; that's mostly because it opens with two killer swing instrumentals, "In the Mood" and "Frenesi," by Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw, respectively, and it's hard to beat any compilation that starts off that way. And that goes double when you jump to "Sierra Sue" by Bing Crosby and "Maybe" by the Ink Spots. It would have to be a pretty foul selection past that point to mute the virtues of this CD, and that's definitely not the case -- even the lesser numbers, such as "Playmates" by Kay Kyser's band, are elevated by the surroundings, which include more Crosby (and his brother Bob, too, on "There I Go") and Ink Spots, as well as Connie Boswell ("On the Isle of May"), Tommy Dorsey ("I'll Never Smile Again,") Jimmy Dorsey ("The Breeze And I"), and Charlie Barnet ("Pompton Turnpike"), plus the Andrews Sisters in a rocking swing number, "Say Si Si," that's also a great showcase for bandleader Vic Schoen. One supposes that this CD's appeal lies in its positioning -- 1940 was a year in which the swing music boom was still going, and a nexus between that phenomenon and the growing influence of R&B harmony singing, plus a growing sophistication in pop. The sound is good, as expected, as every track here has been remastered successfully for years. There's no annotation, but the listening is sure good.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder