In the mid-'40s, following the success of Oklahoma! as an original Broadway cast album, Decca Records, which had released that album, cast around for other stage projects to put on disc, not restricting itself to musicals then currently running. Label head Jack Kapp thought back to the 1933 Jerome Kern show Roberta and assembled a studio cast to recreate it. Of course, the show had never been recorded in this manner, though individual songs -- notably "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Yesterdays," and "The Touch of Your Hand" -- had become hits. Kapp used Alfred Drake, fresh from the Oklahoma! recording, and Kitty Carlisle, who had just done a studio-cast recording of the operetta The Merry Widow for the label. Paula Laurence, recently of the Broadway musical Something for the Boys (also recorded by Decca), got the more comic numbers like "I'll Be Hard to Handle" and the risqué "Let's Begin." The result was a delightful recreation of the Roberta score. Kapp, no purist, added in "Lovely to Look At," the song written for the 1935 film adaptation and later used for the title of the 1952 movie remake.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann