This two-fer CD reissue combines the contents of a couple of 1952 LPs prominently featuring Jane Froman. With a Song in My Heart was a Froman bio-pic starring Susan Hayward that was one of the more successful films of the year. Froman's life story, which turned on her survival of an airplane crash when she was going to Europe to entertain the troops during World War II and her struggle to recover afterwards, made for an emotional film, and the soundtrack album consisted of her recordings of period songs including "I'll Walk Alone," "They're Either Too Young or Too Old," and a patriotic medley. None of Alfred Newman's Oscar-winning score was included, and as such, the album is basically a Froman best-of. Its association with the film, however, assured it of success, and it topped the Billboard charts for a remarkable 25 weeks. The same year, Froman stepped into the cast recording for a Broadway revival of Pal Joey because Vivienne Segal, star of the original production and the revival, was contracted to Columbia Records while Capitol controlled rights to the cast album. (Harold Lang, who played Joey on-stage, was similarly replaced by Dick Beavers.) Froman does her best, but the resulting "cast" album is really a botched job, both because the singer lacks the smoldering appeal needed for the role and because, in any case, Lorenz Hart's lyrics to songs like "Bewitched" have been bowdlerized and thus lost the impact they should have. Elaine Stritch, who was in the production on-stage, is welcome doing her show-stopping "Zip, "but since it too has had its lyrics sanitized somewhat, it is less effective than it might have been. The reissue does not alert consumers to the problems with Pal Joey, other than to list it as performed "with members of the 1952 Broadway cast," and that is deceptive. But the album works as a Jane Froman collection.
With a Song in My Heart (from the film); Pal Joey (with 1952 cast members) Review
by William Ruhlmann