Various Artists

The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 17: 1946 [TIM]

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The seventh disc in the German box set The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 2: 1940-1951 nominally covers the year 1946, but, as is usual in this collection, the date is not always adhered to precisely. In fact, the earliest track here is Guy Lombardo's "Humoresque," which dates back to the summer of 1944, and the latest is Buddy Clark's "Linda," from the first quarter of 1947. Judy Garland's "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" from the movie The Harvey Girls and Dick Haymes' "It Might as Well Be Spring" from the movie State Fair, meanwhile, both were in the charts in the fall of 1945. The collection's calendar conflicts are matched by the odd and error-filled annotations, which only consist of song titles, songwriting credits, and artists. Why is Jerry Gray, who conducted the orchestra on Margaret Whiting's "Guilty," co-credited with her when no other accompanist on the disc is? (Gray's distinction is degraded by the misspelling of his first name.) Leaving aside such sloppiness, which is typical of European collections of out-of-copyright recordings, however, the album does contain a good, if seemingly random sampling of mid-'40s pop music, with 12 recordings that made the pop, country, and/or R&B charts, plus good non-hit material by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat "King" Cole, Sarah Vaughan, and Peggy Lee. Most of the tracks have been lifted from major-label studio recordings, the exception being Vaughan's "Don't Blame Me," which is a live performance that first turned up on the Swiss Dizzy Gillespie bootleg '46 Live at the Spotlite. Some of the biggest pop singers of 1946, such as Sinatra and Perry Como, are included, along with important jazz, blues, and country artists. It's a shame that the collection is marred by its technical problems.

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