CD Reviews


Webmaster: Len Mullenger

[Jazz index][Purchase CDs][ Film MusicWeb][Classical MusicWeb][Gerard Hoffnung][MusicWeb Site Map]

Ethel Merman - An Earful of Music

Living Era - CD AJA-5510 (Mono) [ADD]

23 Tracks-Total Time - 76:16-Recorded (1932-1950) [Incorrectly noted as 1934-1950]



Crotchet Budget price

1) Kid Millions: An Earful of Music (Donaldson);
2) Girl Crazy: I Got Rhythm (Gershwin);
3) George White's Scandals of 1931: Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries (Henderson);
4) Take a Chance: Eadie was a Lady (Brown & Whiting);
5) How Deep is the Ocean? (Berlin);
6) Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1932: I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues (Arlen); Anything Goes:
7) I Get a Kick Out of You;
8) You're the Top (Porter);
9) In Caliente: The Lady in Red (Wrubel); Red, Hot and Blue:
10) Ridin' High;
11) Red, Hot and Blue;
12) It's De-Lovely (Porter);
13) As Thousands Cheer: Heat Wave (Berlin);
14) Dubarry Was a Lady: Friendship (Duet with Bert Lahr) (Porter); Annie Get Your Gun:
15) Doin' What Comes Natur'lly;
16) You Can't Get a Man With a Gun;
17) They Say It's Wonderful (Duet with Ray Middleton);
18) I Got the Sun in the Morning;
19) Anything You Can Do (Duet with Ray Middleton) (Berlin);
20) Ukulele Lady (Kahn);
21) Copacabana Revue: Dearie (Hillard & Mann); Call Me Madam:
22) The Hostess with the Mostes' on the Ball;
23) You're Just in Love (Duet with Dick Haymes) (Berlin)

Johnny Green & his Orchestra (1 & 7-8); Jay Blackton & his Orchestra [&
Chorus in 18] (2-3, 12 & 15-19); Victor Young and the "Take a Chance" Octet
& Orchestra (4); Nat Shilkret & his Orchestra (5-6); Al Goodman and his
Orchestra (9); Fairchild & Carroll (pianos) & their Orchestra (10-11);
Alfred Newman and his 20th Century Fox Recording Orchestra and Chorus (13);
With Orchestra [Radio Broadcast] (14); With vocal quartet, Hawaiian guitars
and rhythm accompaniment (20); Sy Oliver & his Orchestra (21); Gordon
Jenkins & his Orchestra (22-23).
All were recorded in New York, New York, except (13), recorded in Hollywood.
Recording dates: September 29, 1932 (5-6); December 16, 1932 (4); October 8,
1934 (1); December 4, 1934 (7-8); July 17, 1935 (9); November 6, 1936
(10-11); 1939 (13); 1940 (14); May 26, 1946 (15 & 17-18); May 28, 1946 (16 &
19); December 12, 1947 (2-3 & 12); January 4, 1950 (21); May 1950 (20);
October 17, 1950 (23); November 20, 1950 (22).

"The Voice of Brass" and "The Merm" were two affectionate names
for the one and only Ethel Merman. The former came from Irving Berlin and
the later was something that just developed over the years. Regardless, the
woman had a vocal timbre and a stage presence that were unmistakable and

One song on this collection that perfectly exemplifies her early
charms is "How Deep is the Ocean?" Not from a film, musical or review, it
was written especially for her by Irving Berlin and introduced in 1932. She
actually sings what may be described as a "pianissimo" at the end. This is
the track I play for people who "pooh-pooh" her vocal artistry. None can
deny she did have it, at one time, anyway. The 23 selections on this CD give
an excellent overview of her decade's long career. The only songs that I
would like to have had that are missing is "Down in the Depths on the 90th
Floor" and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" both by Cole Porter.

Since many of the songs chosen are either from films or musicals and were introduced by Merman herself, the term "definitive" can be applied to most of these interpretations. Anyone interested in how these songs were originally performed, need look no further than this CD.

The five duets on the disc are well chosen. They don't begin to
appear until the 14th track (a rare "live" radio broadcast [with The Wizard
of Oz's "Cowardly Lion", Bert Lahr], which is a real hoot). The other four
are interspersed almost every other track until the end.

She also includes all of the "intros" to the songs which
provides additional authenticity. Her special affinity for the Cole Porter
numbers from Anything Goes and especially Red, Hot and Blue shines through
and makes one wish for more from this master. The items from Irving Berlin's
Annie Get Your Gun and Call Me Madam couldn't be performed better. The sound
quality of the transfers is good to excellent.

May we please have (Volume 2)? Definitely recommended.

Gregory W. Stouffer

Return to Index