Comic actress and singer Betty Hutton was known as "the blonde bombshell" because of her hair color and -- during the war years of the '40s -- her explosive personality and vocal style. In a 20-year recording career that stretched from 1939 to 1959, most of which was spent with RCA Victor and Capitol Records, she recorded a series of hits, usually songs associated with the Hollywood movie musicals in which she appeared. In the mid-'90s, Capitol compiled her recordings as part of its Spotlight on...Great Ladies of Song series and One Way Records licensed some of her RCA tracks for a CD called The Best of the RCA Years. In Europe, reissue labels have been waiting out the 50-year copyright limit on recordings to assemble their own unlicensed Hutton collections. Living Era's The Blonde Bombshell (not to be confused with AEI's A Blonde Bombshell, Collectors' Choice's Hollywood's Blonde Bombshell or Jasmine's The Blonde Bombshell in Hollywood -- whew!) constitutes a good Hutton best-of, covering her work from 1941 to 1954. It is not exhaustive; it doesn't go all the way back to her late-'30s tracks as the vocalist with Vincent Lopez and His Suave Swing Orchestra, and there's nothing from the not-yet-out-of-copyright-in-Europe 1959 Warner Bros LP Betty Hutton at the Saints and Sinners Ball. But eight of Hutton's ten Billboard singles chart entries are here (the exceptions being "The Musicians" and "The Honeymoon's Over"), including the chart-topping "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief" and the reported gold record "I Wish I Didn't Love You So." There are also five tracks from the MGM soundtrack to Annie Get Your Gun. And there are three radio airchecks, in addition to the tracks borrowed without permission from Capitol and RCA. The sound quality of these transfers from 78s is not bad generally (although there's some surface noise on the Annie Get Your Gun tracks), and the selection is excellent, displaying both Hutton's way with a romantic ballad ("It Had to Be You," "Blue Skies") and her famously energetic novelty side, which found her spouting sound effects like a one-woman version of the Spike Jones Orchestra ("His Rocking Horse Ran Away," "Orange Colored Sky," "It's Oh So Quiet!," "'Murder,' He Says"). This is the best single-disc Hutton hits compilation yet released.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann