Various Artists

The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 7: 1939 [OSA/Radio History]

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The second consecutive volume in the German History label's The History of Pop Radio to be devoted solely to the year 1939, this disc is marginally better than its predecessor, though it shares the major flaw of Vol. 6, an overabundance of mediocre, little-known songs and performers. On the upside, one can hear signature songs by both prominent singers ("We'll Meet Again" by Vera Lynn, "Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland) and bands ("At the Woodchoppers' Ball" by Woody Herman, "Cherokee" by Charlie Barnet), and there are plenty of familiar songs, several of them by the acts that helped make them famous ("My Prayer" by the Ink Spots, "Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar" by the Andrews Sisters, "Back in the Saddle Again" by Gene Autry). On the downside, a substantial number of the tracks are inferior British copies of American recordings ("Tain't What You Do" by Nat Gonella, "And the Angels Sing" by Anne Lenner), and many are by singers whose names are deservedly lost to history (Wendy Clare, Bill Currie), giving the album a miscellaneous feel. Some of 1939's better and more popular songs are on this disc, but few of the year's better performers.

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