Al Jolson

Let Me Sing and I'm Happy [Living Era]

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An exhaustive (and exhausting) look at Al Jolson's five-year period between his 1946 comeback with The Al Jolson Story and his death five years later, the Living Era collection Let Me Sing and I'm Happy plows ground that has not only been worked over well, but has proved fallow compared to Jolson's recording prime of the 1900s and 1910s. In fact, the liner notes admit as much, stating that "many of us take the overly familiar Decca recordings for granted" and going on to reprint the fallacy "[T]hey really do represent some of Jolson's greatest moments in the recording studio." At least this late work did perform well, charting highly and placing many more million-sellers ("April Showers," "Ma Blushin' Rosie," "My Mammy," "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody," "The Anniversary Song") into Jolson's canon. A few of his collaborations are the best material here, including two famed duets with Bing Crosby -- "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life" -- as well as the Andrews Sisters and 4 Hits and a Miss. The chronological, completist approach does provide a few magic moments, including the eight-song Stephen Foster songbook that Jolson recorded three months before his death (and which lay unissued on CD until this appearance).

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:56
2 3:05
3 2:01
4 2:55
5 2:37
6 2:52
7 2:25
8 3:05
9 2:17
10 3:06
11
feat: Bing Crosby
2:59
12
feat: Bing Crosby
3:11
13 2:42
14 2:39
15 2:25
16 1:52
17 2:48
18 2:10
19 2:34
20 2:15
21 2:06
22 1:57
23 2:37
24 2:02
25 3:04
26 2:22
27 2:53
28 2:24
29 2:18
30 2:09

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:37
2 2:41
3 2:42
4 2:29
5 2:49
6 2:57
7 2:35
8 2:36
9 2:16
10 2:53
11 2:34
12 2:36
13 3:08
14 2:17
15 2:45
16 3:20
17 3:04
18 2:23
19 3:21
20 3:17
21 2:52
22 2:21
23 3:23
24 2:28
25 3:19
26 2:08
27 3:09
28 2:43
blue highlight denotes track pick