Jimmy Durante

The Ultimate Collection

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Typical of the compilations assembled by British budget reissue label Prism Leisure, this album of tracks featuring Jimmy Durante offers no information about the recordings, just a brief, generic biography of the artist. Although Durante was primarily known as a comedian in movies, musicals, and nightclubs, he also made occasional recordings, particularly in the 1940s when he cut versions of songs from his pictures for Decca Records. He also made many appearances on radio, and there are resulting airchecks. This material comes from those two sources. The lead-off version of Durante's signature song, "Inka Dinka Doo," for example, is a 1944 remake that appeared on the B-side of "Umbriago," a song he sang in his film Music for Millions. But the version of "Umbriago" heard here comes from a radio show, as do many of the tracks here that feature guests such as Bing Crosby (a lengthy medley beginning with Crosby's hit "I Surrender Dear," among other selections), Al Jolson ("A Real Piano Player"), and Judy Garland ("Groaner, Canary and Nose"). Of course, Durante doesn't really need any help to be hilarious. His irrepressible personality comes through clearly, even without the mugging that must have accompanied these performances. In fact, one notices even more Durante's remarkable timing and the way he builds the bits. His musical knowledge allows him to negotiate everything from swing to Latin numbers. But he overwhelms any backup. This is more "the random compilation" than The Ultimate Collection, but it is no less entertaining for that.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:55 Spotify
2 3:02 Spotify
3 3:11 Spotify
4 2:16 Spotify
5 3:03 Spotify
6 2:42 Spotify
7 1:40 Spotify
feat: Bing Crosby
4:20 Spotify
9 2:41 Spotify
10 3:12 Spotify
11 3:08 Spotify
12 1:36 Spotify
feat: Eddie Cantor
feat: Al Jolson
3:12 Spotify
15 3:08 Spotify
16 2:56 Spotify
2:57 Spotify
18 2:33 Spotify
19 2:59 Spotify
3:00 Spotify
21 2:47 Spotify
feat: Bing Crosby
23 1:30 Spotify
24 3:02 Spotify
feat: Bing Crosby
4:32 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick