One might reasonably assume, considering an album titled Hollywood Award Songs, which sports a photograph of an Academy Award statue on its cover, would consist of performances of Oscar-winning songs. But if one did make such an assumption in this case, one would be mistaken. "Almost all of the songs in this collection, despite being over 50 years old, will be familiar to listeners," writes annotator James Murray. "Most were nominated for (and in some cases won) Academy Awards. In other cases, the artists or the films won." To be precise, 15 of the 25 songs featured on the album were nominated for the Academy Award, and five of them won. But perhaps the key phrase in Murray's remark has to do with the tracks being over 50 years old. The collection is one of the many coming out of Europe that takes advantage of the 50-year-old copyright limit on recordings on that continent. The tracks here date back as far as 1938's recording of "Jeepers Creepers" by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, but they stop abruptly at 1952 with Tex Ritter's performance of the Oscar-winning "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)." The tracks are taken from studio recordings originally issued (and still claimed in the U.S.) by major labels that go unmentioned here. As Murray notes, almost all the songs remain familiar, and so do the singers, from the Andrews Sisters to Jo Stafford. The sound quality is good, the singers are good, and the songs are good. In fact, the collection is of higher quality than it might be if the compilers really had stuck to Oscar winners of the period. But this is still just a miscellaneous collection of mid-century pop music, randomly assembled.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann