Vivian Blaine

Pal Joey/Annie Get Your Gun

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Actress/singer Vivian Blaine was at the height of her success in 1956 when she signed a recording contract with Mercury Records, having appeared the previous fall in the movie version of Guys and Dolls with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, reprising her original role as Miss Adelaide from the 1950 stage version. It was logical for Mercury to put her into the recording studio to cut some show music, and that's what the label did. When the resulting LP was released, however, it may have confused record buyers somewhat. One side of the disc consisted of six songs from Rodgers & Hart's score for the 1940 musical Pal Joey, the other of six songs were from Irving Berlin's score for the 1946 musical Annie Get Your Gun. So, the designers of the album cover credited "Vivian Blaine, star of stage and screen, singing selections from Pal Joey"" on one side of the cover, and "Vivian Blaine, star of stage and screen, singing selections from Annie Get Your Gun"" on the other, with no further explanation. This led to the notion that there were two different albums when there was really only one. In any case, Blaine addressed the songs effectively in sympathetic, string-filled 1950s orchestrations, Glenn Osser handling the baton on the Pal Joey tracks, Hal Mooney on those from Annie Get Your Gun. Those accustomed to Blaine's nasal accent as Miss Adelaide may have been surprised that she didn't sound like that naturally; she only broke out her Adelaide voice when portraying Gypsy Rose Lee in "Zip." This being the 1950s, she sang the bowdlerized lyrics of "Bewitched," although some slightly suggestive lines from "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly" (which she sang in an exaggerated country accent) came through. The only real complaint about the disc, especially when it was finally reissued on CD in 2004, was that it was so short. Too bad there wasn't room to hear what Blaine might have done with "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun."

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