Ginger Rogers

The Ginger Rogers Collection

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Ginger Rogers albums are relatively few in number, which leads to a more generous rating than would otherwise be the case for this Italian compilation of possibly dubious legality. Of the 20 tracks spanning 35 years, only five are studio recordings, which makes sense since Rogers didn't make many studio recordings. The first of them is the lead-off track, which, despite what it says on the album cover and the track listing, is not "Face the Music and Dance," but another song from the Rogers/Fred Astaire film Follow the Fleet (1936), "Let Yourself Go," an Irving Berlin composition Rogers recorded for Decca Records backed by Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra. From there, the selections look back to the start of Rogers' film career with a couple of numbers from the obscure short Office Blues (1930). The tracks proceed more or less chronologically from there. The two lengthy segments from Lady in the Dark (1944) are heavy with dialogue, particularly the track listed as "My Ship," which doesn't actually contain a vocal rendition of that song other than Rogers' humming, while the eight-and-a-half-minute track listed as "Girl of the Moment" also includes a full performance of "The Saga of Jenny." Oscar Levant, who has a big part in "A Weekend in the Country" from The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), goes uncredited. The album ends with a performance of "Before the Parade Passes By" from the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!, for which Rogers served as replacement star, stepping in for Carol Channing in August 1965, more than a year after the show opened. The sound quality of this album is iffy, with plenty of scratches and hissing, even on the studio tracks. And, as suggested by the corrections noted, the packaging leaves a great deal to be desired. But the historical value of the contents and the scarcity of Rogers' recordings will outweigh the limitations for fans.