Various Artists

The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 16: 1945 [TIM]

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The sixth CD in the German box set The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 2: 1940-1951 shares some of the flaws of its predecessors. First, it is chronologically dicey. Despite the 1945 designation in the title, the tracks range in age from Glenn Miller's "Juke Box Saturday Night," which was released in the fall of 1942, to Bob Wills' "Roly Poly," which appeared in the spring of 1946. Second, it is poorly annotated, with some, but not all of the vocal tracks credited to their singers rather than the bandleaders under whose names they originally appeared. Thus, "It's Only a Paper Moon" is by Benny Goodman, not Dottie Reid; "Tampico" and "Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'" are actually by Stan Kenton; and "You Won't Be Satisfied" should be credited to Les Brown instead of Doris Day. Also, "Together" is a duet by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest, not a Haymes solo recording. But the disc does improve upon earlier ones in some regards. For once, there are no inferior British covers of American hits. And 16 out of the 20 tracks were pop, country, and/or R&B chart hits, albeit only 11 of them in 1945. The non-chart items include worthy recordings by Nat "King" Cole and "Champion" Jack Dupree, among others, meaning that this collection, however scattershot, does contain a mix of some of the best and most popular music of the mid-'40s performed by some of the era's biggest talents. European copyright law, which places recordings in the public domain after 50 years, opens the floodgates to people who assemble compilations like this by going through their record collections, but at least they are able to ignore licensing restrictions and choose from the period's most significant music, then present it at a budget price.

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