Dinah Shore

Lower Basin Street: Revisited

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Like many of her peers in traditional pop, Dinah Shore signed on with Frank Sinatra's Reprise Records label in the 1960s. But unlike some of the others, Shore was only maintaining a vestigial career as a recording artist by then. A major singing star of the 1940s and early '50s while contracted to RCA Victor, Columbia, and RCA again, Shore had moved to Capitol Records in 1959 and stayed until 1962, without notable success. When she left, she stopped recording, and her long-running TV show went off in 1963, further diminishing her stature. By the time she reached Reprise in 1965, Sinatra had sold it to Warner Bros. Records, and Lower Basin Street Revisited (its title keying off of The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, the 1940s radio show that made Shore a star) proved to be a one-off when it didn't sell. That's a shame, because it's a charming record on which Shore turns in buoyant and winning renditions of such songs as "Do-Re-Mi" from The Sound of Music and "More" from Mondo Cane. Like a true '40s star, Shore is content to glide along the surface of the tunes. Particularly notable in this regard is her version of "Cry Me a River," a tune that became a kind of ultimate torch song in the hands of Julie London, its sense of melodramatic recrimination reinforced by Barbra Streisand in 1963. Shore will have none of that. To her, it's just another musical vehicle for her honeyed vocal tones. Similarly, her "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy & Bess is rendered without any sense of romantic loss. By 1965, such cool stylization was becoming outdated, but that wasn't Shore's fault, and Lower Basin Street Revisited remains a smooth, entertaining collection of 1960s performances from a top 1940s singer.

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