Fred Astaire

Let's Face the Music [Avid]

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

A Fred Astaire album is a terrible oxymoron. Though he sings on the entire album, Let's Face the Music lacks the skills that made Fred Astaire a star. His music is a paradox: he was a famous singer who was a world-wide smash because he happened to sing while he dances. Astaire could have popularized anything if he had done it while dancing. The truth is that the most famous American dancer had only a dull, light, and somewhat charming voice. Hearing him sing in the films that made him a legend was fine, because he danced liked a god and was no vocal liability. Astaire is famous for his groundbreaking, sophisticated rhythms and the suave athleticism of his movement, but not his singing style. Because an Astaire CD only has music and not dancing, the best he had to offer is sorely missing. It is nearly impossible to judge the music on its own, because that is not how it was presented in the first place. "Change Partners" especially reveals the limits to Astaire's range and almost sounds like an outtake. If this were a DVD, the song might actually seem different. But it is not. Let's Face the Music is recommended for fans of Top Hat and Shall We Dance? who want to hear Fred Astaire's music again. more recommended is his film catalog. The album has some historical value, since some of America's finest songwriters originally wrote songs for Astaire that later became jazz standards. "Cheek to Cheek," "Funny Face," and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" are classic songs. But while Astaire often sang them first, his is rarely the definitive version. The cult of Astaire's personality does not raise his singing beyond that of genial. The orchestration by Johnny Greene and his orchestra, however, is often quite good, and "Fascinating Rhythm" (which is a duet between Fred and Adele Astaire) is also a treat. Recommended with reservation.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Johnny Green
2:31
2
feat: Johnny Green
2:52
3
feat: Ray Noble
2:54
4
feat: Ray Noble
3:05
5 2:27
6
feat: Johnny Green
3:04
Flying Down to Rio
7 2:48
8
feat: Johnny Green
2:38
9 2:27
10
feat: Johnny Green
2:48
11
feat: Johnny Green
2:58
12
feat: Ray Noble
2:42
13
feat: Johnny Green
3:15
14 2:40
15
feat: Johnny Green
3:10
16
feat: Johnny Green
3:11
17
feat: Leo Reisman
3:19
18 3:09
19
feat: Johnny Green
3:06
20
feat: Johnny Green
2:33
21
feat: Perry Botkin
2:22
22
feat: Johnny Green
2:41
23
feat: Ray Noble
2:49
24
feat: Ray Noble
3:06
25 2:43
blue highlight denotes track pick