Various Artists

The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 12: 1941 [TIM]

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This is the second disc in the German box set The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 2: 1940-1951. European copyright law appears to put recordings in the public domain after 50 years, allowing collections like this to be assembled by transferring 78s from someone's collection. In this case, the result is a confusing jumble of British and American recordings from the early '40s. The date in the title notwithstanding; not all are from 1941. The Jimmy Dorsey rendering of "Six Lessons From Madame La Zonga" (here credited to singer Helen O'Connell), for example, was a hit in the summer of 1940, although the movie for which it served as the title song did not turn up in theaters until 1941. And Lena Horne's performance of Cole Porter's "Just One of These Things" seems to have been purloined from the actual soundtrack of the 1942 film Panama Hattie. Most noticeably, the closing track, Peggy Lee's take on Rodgers & Hart's "My Heart Stood Still," clearly dates from much later in her career than 1941, when she was the singer in Benny Goodman's band. Beyond chronological problems, the compilation is dominated by obscure songs performed by British acts whose names will be unfamiliar to American (and even many British) listeners. The Dorsey track is the only actual U.S. hit, although there are covers of other hits, such as Dorothy Carless' version of "Daddy," Glenn Miller's of "Yes My Darling Daughter" (credited here to singer Marion Hutton), and Bing Crosby's of "San Antonio Rose." There are several other songs drawn from movies, notably Deanna Durbin's studio version of "It's Foolish but It's Fun," which she sang in the 1940 film Spring Parade. It all makes for varied fare, but this is hardly a collection of the recorded highlights of 1941 pop radio.

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