In 2003, Swing Factory released a 28-track collection of Eddy Howard's studio recordings dating from the years 1946-1951 and originally intended solely for radio broadcast purposes. Howard rose to prominence with the Dick Jurgens Orchestra during the late '30s, deftly making the transition from singing guitarist to featured star vocalist. By the time the first of these 28 radio transcription recordings were cut, Howard had been leading his own band for five years and was enjoying sustained popularity among the postwar record-buying public. The ratio of sentimental ballads to spunky foxtrots and traditional jazz standards allows for an accurate appraisal of Howard's performing repertoire. Tasty tidbits include the vaudevillian Al Jolson staple "Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye," James P. Johnson's "Old Fashioned Love," Chris Smith's "Ballin' the Jack," Hoagy Carmichael's "Lazy River," and pleasant versions of George Gershwin's "Nice Work If You Can Get It" and "Love Is Here to Stay." Howard seems to have been born to put across numbers like "Singin' in the Rain" and "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart." Some of the songs heard here, like the romantic "Harbor Lights," are updates of hits from his days with Dick Jurgens. Technically speaking, the word "transcriptions" could be applied to every recording ever made using a stylus to etch a continuous pattern representing the sound waves captured by the recording apparatus, beginning with Thomas Edison's tin foil imprints of 1877 and extending to the widespread introduction of magnetic audiotape during the 1950s. Artists of the 1930s and '40s who cut records intended for exclusive sale to radio stations often rose to the occasion and gave their best efforts, which appears to have been the case with Eddy Howard. This collection, meant to supplement his commercially issued recordings, complements a 24-track CD of radio transcriptions released by the Circle label in 1994. Although the two have six titles in common, some will feel compelled to acquire both.
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