Les Paul & Mary Ford

Les and Mary

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It was a confusing time to be in the record business in the mid-'50s, as this 16-selection album could be found as a single 12-inch LP, two 10-inch LPs, two 45 RPM double albums, four 45 RPM single albums, and it has been spotted on 78s too. Not only were the formats diversified, so was the repertoire -- to a degree extreme even for the free-thinking Les Paul. Alone and/or with Mary Ford, Paul plays with pop standards ("On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Just One of Those Things"), old jazz ("Twelfth Street Rag"), Berlin cabaret-vintage Kurt Weill ("Moritat" a.k.a. "Mack the Knife," which Paul at first tried to copyright under his own name as "Theme from Laughing Eyes"!), gospel ("Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"), Brazilian samba ("Tico Tico"), even a recent country hit like Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On." Sometimes one gets the feeling that Paul and Ford were beginning to reach the limits of their hit formula, but the energy of "Tico" and Ford's spirited choral belting of "I'm Movin' On" have plenty of the old pizzazz.

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