Various Artists

The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 19: 1949

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This is the ninth disc in the German ten-CD box set The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 2: 1940-1951, and it marks a change from the first eight. Those collections, moving more or less chronologically, focus primarily on the pop hit parade, with occasional forays into R&B and country. Here, the mix is more heavily weighted toward those styles, with fewer pop entries. There are still eight pop chart hits among the 20 tracks, but they include several crossover records, such as Johnny Lee Wills' "Rag Mop," which scored higher on the country charts (in early 1950, not 1949) and Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry," which made the pop charts after topping the R&B charts. There are also R&B hits that did not cross over, such as Fats Domino's first record, "The Fat Man" (another track actually from early 1950) and Wynonie Harris' "All She Wants to Do Is Rock." The collection also contains Ezio Pinza's operatic reading of "Some Enchanted Evening" from the original Broadway cast album of South Pacific and a performance by a young Marilyn Monroe taken directly from the soundtrack of her first notable film, Ladies of the Chorus. The result is a collection that veers wildly from one style to another, following Dan Pickett's folk-blues rendering of "Baby Don't You Want to Go" (aka "Kokomo") with Dinah Shore's "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" and Perry Como's pop ballad "Far Away Places" with Professor Longhair's piano stomp "Mardi Gras in New Orleans." It was all music of the late '40s and early '50s, and maybe that illustrates the transition being made in this period from Tin Pan Alley pop to more rural and ethnic styles. On this album, they bump up against each other, sometimes oddly.

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