Original Broadway Casts

This Is the Army/Call Me Mister [JJA]

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In 1942, Irving Berlin organized This Is the Army, an all-soldier musical to benefit war relief that updated his similar World War I show Yip! Yip! Yaphank. It ran on Broadway from July 4 to September 26, then toured the U.S. and around the world over the next three years. Berlin himself reprised "Oh, How I Hate to Get up in the Morning" from Yip! Yip! Yaphank, and other songs included the stirring "This Is the Army, Mr. Jones," the romantic "I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen," and the African-American-oriented "What the Well Dressed Man in Harlem Will Wear." Songwriter Harold Rome's 1946 musical revue Call Me Mister successfully commented on the immediate postwar world, opening on Broadway on April 18, 1946, and running 734 performances through January 10, 1948. Betty Garrett achieved stardom singing the hit "South America, Take It Away," in which a USO hostess complains about rhumba rhythms, and she also had fun with "Little Surplus Me," while "Military Life" took a less-than-reverent look at veterans. Decca Records recorded both shows and issued 78 RPM albums in 1942 and 1946, respectively. Columbia Special Products subsequently combined those two albums on a single LP that quickly went out of print. JJA, a bootleg label devoted to rescuing cast and soundtrack recordings from oblivion, also has combined the material on this LP, adding bonus material such as "My British Buddy," written for the London opening of This Is the Army. The pressing is less than perfect (there are occasional dropouts), but the sound is generally good, and despite the gray-market nature of the release, JJA is to be commended for disseminating these valuable, hard-to-find recordings.

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