Twenty-six songs by the late big-band singer of the 1930's and 1940's, opening with the intoxicating "You Go To My Head," from 1938. A lot of the material here is from Simms' film appearances, from the actual soundtracks, so there are occasionally sound effects and extended instrumental breaks (covering dance sequences) included. The obvious magnum opus in that body of Simms' work was Night And Day, the Cole Porter pseudo-biography, and four of those five songs -- "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Just One Of Those Things," and "I Get A Kick Out of You" -- constitute the centerpiece of this collection. But there are other worthwhile cuts, including the playful "I'm Fit To Be Tied" from the movie That's Right, You're Wrong. As becomes obvious listening to this CD, Simms was often better than her material, imparting more feeling than the composers gave her lyrics or music to work with, as in "Somebody Loves Me." She seemed to hit her stride working with Kay Kyser & His Orchestra, and then with Johnny Long & His Orchestra -her two cuts with Long and company, "I'm Like A Fish Out of Water" and "I'd Like To Set You To Music," are additional highlights of this disc, along with her performance of Vincent Youmans's "Great Day, Arthur Schwartz and Frank Loesser's "How Sweet You Are," and Harold Arlen's "Stormy Weather." Most of the non-film material comes from radio transcriptions, and among the best of those are Simms' achingly impassioned renditions of "Embraceable You" and "Don't Worry 'Bout Me," accompanied by Frank DeVol and his orchestra. The best vehicle for her work, however, was clearly Cole Porter's music, of which this disc saves the best for next-to-last, a version of "I Love Paris" in which she wraps herself like a second skin around the words. The sound quality is surprisingly good, with clean sources used throughout and healthy volume. The annotation is a little general in nature, with little said about the songs or the performances.
I'd Like to Set You to Music Review
by Bruce Eder