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Eddie Fisher – I’m Walking Behind You. A Tribute – his 28 finest 1950-56


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1. Any Time
2. I Love You Because
3. Warm Kisses In The Cool Of The Night
4. Thinking Of You
5. Bring Back The Thrill
6. Unless
7. Tell Me Why
8. Turn Back The Hands Of Time
9. That's The Chance You Take
10. Forgive Me
11. Just A Little Lovin' Will Go A Long Way
12. I'm Yours
13. Wish You Were Here
14. Watermelon Weather (Duet With Perry Como)
15. Maybe (Duet With Perry Como)
16. Full Moon And Empty Arms
17. Everything I Have Is Yours
18. Outside Of Heaven
19. Lady Of Spain
20. Even Now
21. How Do You Speak To An Angel?
22. Downhearted
23. I'm Walking Behind You
24. With These Hands
25. Many Times
26. Oh, My Papa!
27. I Need You Now
28. Cindy, Oh, Cindy
Eddie Fisher with various orchestras, principally Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra
Rec. 1950-56

With millions sellers, No.1s and Top 25 Hits a–plenty Eddie Fisher was ‘the Jewish Sinatra’. (Who, I wonder, just in passing, was the Gentile Al Jolson?) Fisher sang a diet of pop lovelies, transplanted classical adaptations, romantic burners and the occasional dyed in the wool standard. If I have always found him rather monochromatic as a singer there’s no doubting the sheer quality of the voice, which sometimes had an operatic strength to it, rather as Tony Bennett’s early recordings were cod-Italiana and pasta-operatic. Warm Kisses In The Cool Of The Night for instance is nothing less than Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake in fact – whilst Full Moon And Empty Arms is yet another leeching from Rachmaninov’s much abused second piano concerto.
Fisher is probably better known these days, still, for his marriages and bobby-soxer status than for his many hits – in the period under discussion for instance he ran up no fewer than 47 US Top 40 hits; a staggering amount when you consider the opposition. Yes, one can hardly discount Debbie Reynolds or Elizabeth Taylor, biographically speaking, but as far as the singing goes there is something monumentally consistent about the arrangements, performances (mainly by Hugo Winterhalter’s orchestra) and vocals that does compel respect, even if some of the songs are pretty flimsy vehicles and lack melodic distinction. In fact listening to some now, it’s astounding that they could have charted so high, so maybe the man was the medium and the message. It seems clear to me – though I’ve not read the autobiography and can’t be sure – that Fisher must have listened to singers such as Tauber and Lanza and their ilk. There’s something quite knowing about his singing of Bring Back The Thrill that makes me think he did know singers and singing like that. The duets with Perry Como certainly strike me as second string Bing and Frank performances, shorn of the back chat and personality.
But if Fisher is your man, these 28 cuts form a focused selection and will provide easy charm to while away the blues.
Jonathan Woolf

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