Live with the Mel-Tones, Vol. 1

Mel Tormé

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Live with the Mel-Tones, Vol. 1 Review

by John Bush

By the time most adult-pop listeners began hearing them, mixed-gender vocal choruses had become reprehensible white-bread smootheners and straighteners of every glorious imperfection and interpretation a solo vocalist could conjure. Before the '50s, though, the best vocal choruses were capable of tremendous harmonies, and the Mel-Tones were counted among the best (along with the Modernaires and Six Hits and a Miss). Led by Mel Tormé, and including a young Les Baxter, the group appears on a few Tormé compilations, but isn't featured very often. The first of a two-volume set from Mr. Music, Live With the Mel-Tones, Vol. 1 includes performances from Tormé's 1948 TV show on NBC. Unfortunately, only half features the Mel-Tones, but there are many good performances; Tormé balances his effective solo versions of standards ("That Old Black Magic," "Everything Happens to Me") with a collegiate romp ("Fairmont College"), and bright, bouncy singalongs for the Mel-Tones ("It's a Most Unusual Day," "I Got the Sun in the Morning," "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along"). His occasional duet partner, Janet Waldo, is laughably poor in comparison to the mighty Mel, but the rest of this disc consists of enjoyable vocal music.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones 03:43 Amazon
2 Mel Tormé 02:10 Amazon
3 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones / Janet Waldo 01:43 Amazon
4 Mel Tormé 02:24 Amazon
5 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones 01:52 Amazon
6 Mel Tormé 01:37 Amazon
7 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones 02:42 Amazon
8 Mel Tormé 02:09 Amazon
9 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones 03:18 Amazon
10 Mel Tormé feat: Barbara Eiler / Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones 02:34 Amazon
11 Mel Tormé 01:48 Amazon
12 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones 02:18 Amazon
13 Mel Tormé 01:19 Amazon
14 Mel Tormé 01:53 Amazon
15 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones 01:53 Amazon
16 Mel Tormé 01:30 Amazon
17 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones / Janet Waldo 02:35 Amazon
18 Mel Tormé 01:48 Amazon
19 Mel Tormé feat: Mel Tormé & the Mel-Tones 02:30 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick