Joni James

The Joni James Award Winning Album

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Joni James Award Winning Album was originally an early greatest-hits collection released as a 10" record containing her first eight chart hits from 1952-53, including her chart-topping debut, "Why Don't You Believe Me." When MGM reissued it on a 12" LP in 1956, they added three hits from 1955 and "When We Come of Age," a non-charting single from 1954. The resulting 12-track album is a succinct anthology of James' early hits, although the songs from 1955 sound quite a bit different from the earlier cuts. James' rendition of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" was the most successful of its many pop versions and James' vocals have a fresh, youthful quality, like a cross between Dinah Shore and Joanie Sommers. Dave Terry and Lew Douglas handle the orchestrations, and Douglas in particular creates angelic backdrops with fluttering strings and harps. The hits from 1955 are a little more rhythmic with background vocals -- not at all like rock and roll but subtly incorporating some new sounds. James was a very popular vocalist in the '50s, and her music continues to find an audience with listeners who appreciate traditional pop.