Ella Fitzgerald - The Collection [Hallmark]

Ella Fitzgerald - The Collection [Hallmark]
Artist: Ella Fitzgerald
Duration: 03:00:16
Release Date: July 13, 1999
Album: The Collection [Hallmark]
Styles: Bop, Classic Female Blues, Standards, Swing, Traditional Pop, Vocal Jazz, American Popular Song
Genre: Vocal

Ella Fitzgerald's recordings have been subject to extensive reissue in the '90s, but if you just want to hear a lot of her early work in an undiscriminating fashion, there's this 1998 British budget compilation: three discs and 60 tracks with minimal annotation, selecting from the start of Fitzgerald's recording career, 1935, to 1947. (Presumably the cut-off is occasioned by a 50-year-copyright rule in the U.K., since these recordings are nowhere credited to Decca Records, which originally released them, or to Universal, which controls them now, at least in the U.S.) Subtitles on the discs suggest that the first is given over to the singer's work as a member of Chick Webb's band, the second to her period leading her own orchestra and with a small band, and the third to collaborations. In practice, this isn't quite the case.

The first disc does contain 20 Webb cuts, among them such hits as "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" and "Undecided," but the first half of the second disc also consists of Webb recordings. And while the third disc does feature such partners as the Ink Spots, Louis Armstrong, and Louis Jordan, there are also lots of tracks on which Fitzgerald is the sole attraction. What you get, then, is a roughly chronological, three-hour survey of the singer's first 12 years of recording, including some of her hits and better known tracks. There are Fitzgerald favorites such as "(If You Can't Sing It) You'll Have to Swing It" and "Oh, Lady Be Good," and such standards as "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," "Tain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)," "Just a Simple Melody," "I Want to Be Happy," "Imagination," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)," and "I'm Beginning to See the Light," all rendered in Fitzgerald's pure, childlike voice. And there are a lot of forgettable songs given adequate readings.

The result hardly makes for a comprehensive or scholarly examination of the singer's work (except that it tends to confirm the impression that she was given plenty of inferior material at Decca). But as background listening for a bargain price, it's fine.

You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini) / Sam CoslowElla Fitzgerald3:00
I'll Chase the Blues Away / Kenneth Harrison / Edgar SampsonElla Fitzgerald2:36
Rhythm and Romance / J.C. Johnson / Arthur Schwartz / Richard A. WhitingElla Fitzgerald3:07
Under the Spell of the Blues / Kenneth Harrison / Edgar SampsonElla Fitzgerald3:06
Sing Me a Swing Song (And Let Me Dance) / Stanley Adams / Hoagy CarmichaelElla Fitzgerald2:36
Vote for Mr. Rhythm / Ralph Rainger / Leo Robin / Al SiegelElla Fitzgerald2:31
Wake Up and Live / Mack Gordon / Harry RevelElla Fitzgerald feat: Charles Linton2:41
I Got a Guy / Marion SunshineElla Fitzgerald3:25
Holiday in Harlem / Chick WebbElla Fitzgerald3:12
If Dreams Come True / Benny Goodman / Irving Mills / Edgar SampsonElla Fitzgerald2:40
My Heart Belongs to Daddy / Cole PorterElla Fitzgerald3:11
A-Tisket, A-Tasket / Van Alexander / Ella FitzgeraldElla Fitzgerald2:40
Ella / Chick WebbElla Fitzgerald2:49
Undecided / Sydney Robin / Charlie ShaversElla Fitzgerald3:19
'Tain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It) / Sy Oliver / Trummy YoungElla Fitzgerald3:05
Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil / Irving BerlinElla Fitzgerald2:58
Rock It for Me / Kay Werner / Sue WernerElla Fitzgerald3:16
Just a Simple Melody / Sammy Cahn / Saul ChaplinElla Fitzgerald3:02
When I Get Low I Get High / Marion SunshineElla Fitzgerald2:31
I Want to Be Happy / Irving Caesar / Vincent YoumansElla Fitzgerald4:29

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