Various Artists

Those Were Our Songs: Music of World War II

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AllMusic Review by

World War II and big-band pop-era compilations are released almost as regularly as Christmas albums, and the glut has caused more harm than good; it seems any good ones are quickly swallowed up by the racks full of short, ill-advised, uninformative collections. Though any single label could never do justice to the war years, with a little clever licensing the Capitol compilation Those Were Our Songs: Music of World War II transcends its slightly simpy title to deliver 40 great tracks of traditional pop. Most of the standards of the day are included: "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by the Andrews Sisters, "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" by Kay Kyser, "G.I. Jive" by Johnny Mercer, "Long Ago (And Far Away)" by Jo Stafford, and "Sentimental Journey" by Les Brown (with Doris Day), though there's no Glenn Miller, except for his appearance on "Jukebox Saturday Night" by Tex Beneke. More than any other label, Capitol captured the can-do attitude of America during the early '40s, with a spate of classic songs poised halfway between jump blues and novelty big band, songs like Nat King Cole's "Straighten up and Fly Right," Ella Mae Morse's "Cow-Cow Boogie," Freddy Martin's "The Hut-Sut Song," Benny Goodman's "Jersey Bounce," and the Andrews Sisters' "Rum and Coca-Cola." Add the great liner notes of Will Friedwald and Those Were Our Songs: Music of World War II stands as one of the best -- and easily the best-sounding, courtesy of astonishing 24-bit remastering -- compilations of its era: just this side of definitive, but packed full of great music summoning the sound and feel of a nation at war.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:53
2 2:49
3 2:39
4 3:07
5 3:13
6 3:06
7 2:57
8 2:40
9 3:14
10 2:35
11 2:38
12 2:54
13 3:12
14 2:54
15 2:37
16 2:55
17 3:23
18 3:15
19 3:11
20 2:58

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:05
2 3:13
3 3:08
4 2:49
5 2:37
6 2:42
7 3:01
8 2:43
9 3:06
10 3:07
11 3:04
12 3:18
13 2:35
14 3:02
15 2:58
16 3:05
17 2:42
18 2:46
19 3:08
20 2:47
blue highlight denotes track pick