The 12th volume of the 15-CD box set The History of Pop Radio released by the History label of Germany marks a big change from its immediate predecessors in the series. While previous volumes have included the occasional early country or R&B track, this one integrates such selections prominently, making for a varied mix of music from the period 1945-1946. As usual, some of the biggest hits of the era are included in their original recordings by some of the most popular recording artists, notably Les Brown's "You Won't Be Satisfied" (credited to singer Doris Day) and Dinah Shore's "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly." In fact, half of the tracks were pop chart hits. There are also titles from the country charts (Bob Wills' "Roly Poly" and Merle Travis' "Cincinnati Lou"). With the exceptions of the two Louis Jordan tracks, the R&B and jazz material does not feature any hits, but it does feature the likes of Nat "King" Cole, Champion Jack Dupree, Sarah Vaughan, and Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, the last introducing "That's All Right," which Elvis Presley later covered for Sun Records in an early example of rock & roll. (The album title notwithstanding, these are almost all studio recordings, though Sarah Vaughan's "Don't Blame Me" is an Aircheck that the compilers seem to have borrowed from the LP Dizzy Gillespie '46 Live at the Spotlite, originally released on the Swiss Hi-Fly label.) The result is an album perhaps less interested in chronicling the most popular music of the mid-'40s than in anticipating later trends.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann