This discount-priced sampler of ten songs from the vaults of Sony Music that reached #1 during the 1930s (originally released on the Columbia, Brunswick, and Vocalion labels) displays the diversity of the decade by looking both back and forward. The same collection includes Ruth Etting, 1920s star, with her biggest and last major hit, "Life Is Like a Song (Let's Sing It Together)," as well as soon-to-be King of Swing Benny Goodman's first chart-topper, "Moon Glow," from 1934, a year before his big breakthrough. Also featured is 1932's "All of Me," Louis Armstrong's only #1 until the appearance of "Hello, Dolly" 32 years later. In an era dominated by dance bands, there are many selections by orchestras largely lost to history, playing familiar songs in lively arrangements, but one performance is notable for its slow tempo. Hoagy Carmichael wrote "Star Dust" and recorded it before the now little-remembered Isham Jones Orchestra did. But Carmichael took the tune at a quick pace, as did others; it wasn't until Jones slowed it down that beauty of the melody made "Star Dust" one of the most recorded standards in history. That original hit version is here. And just for fun, there's also "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down," a song that will live forever due to its use in numerous Warner Bros. cartoons, played by Russ Morgan's Music in the Morgan Manner band.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann