The success of the 1946 film biography The Jolson Story, for which Al Jolson himself dubbed the singing voice of actor Larry Parks, brought about a major comeback for the singer, leading to hit records and a movie sequel, Jolson Sings Again, in 1949, such that the last five years of Jolson's life, up to his death in 1950, found him in considerable demand. On radio, still the dominant medium with television only in its infancy, listeners didn't see that Jolson was now sixty-something and could imagine the voice as coming from the much younger Parks, and Jolson took advantage of that, appearing frequently on the major shows. This budget-priced compilation gathers no less than 39 airchecks from the '40s, most of them very brief (24 run less than two minutes each), as Jolson reprises songs from the movies, many of them, of course, hits he scored back in his heyday in the '10s and '20s. By now, his voice is much deeper, but he is just as much the bravura performer he was when he trod the boards on Broadway. He was a frequent visitor to Bing Crosby's program, and nine of the tracks are duets with Crosby, while the set closes with a hilarious encounter with Jimmy Durante. The packaging is skimpy on this release, with a brief, generic biography for liner notes and few annotations beyond song titles. As is so often the case with British releases, a youthful, blackface photograph of Jolson has been used for the album cover, even though the recordings are the work of a much older singer who no longer performed with burnt cork on his face.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
feat: Jimmy Durante