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CENTENARY TRIBUTE- His 28 Finest 1942-1958



1. Iím Yours (2:52)

2. I Left My Heart At The Stage Door Canteen (3:13)

3. Thatís My Desire (2:36)

4. The Red Silk Stockings and Green Perfume (2:40)

5. An Apple Blossom Wedding (3:10)

6. Down Among the Sheltering Palms (2:07)

7. Serenade of the Bells (3:08)

8. Careless Hands (2:52)

9. I Got A Gal in Galveston (3:11)

10. Room Full of Roses (3:14)

11. Baby itís Cold Outside (3:02)

12. It Isnít Fair (3:18)

13. Are You Lonesome Tonight? (2:41)

14. Come Back to Me (Santa Lucia) (2:47)

15. That Old Feeling (2:42)

16. When I Take My Sugar to Tea (2:52)

17. Iíll Be Seeing You (2:28)

18. Iíll Walk Alone (3:04)

19. Youíll Never Get Away (2:38)

20. I (Serenade) (2:26)

21. Síposiní (2:18)

22. All At Once (2:38)

23. Hold My Hand (2:47)

24. Stranger in Paradise (2:22)

25. The Bible Tells Me So (2:15)

26. Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (3:09)

27. Rock Island Line (2:24)

28. Play Some Music for Broken Hearts (Basta un poco di musica) (3:09)


Don Cornell (1919-2004) was born Luigi Francisco Varlaro in New York City and was one of the last of the classic big-band singers. Donís singing career lasted over 60 years, helping him to sell more than 50 million records and earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and membership in the Big Band Hall of Fame. He had a smooth, robust baritone voice, and could easily sing any style of music, from pop to swing to novelty tunes. Don found his way into show business via the boxing ring, and had a 27-0 professional record as a teenager before finding an easier way to make a living as a guitarist with trumpeter Red Nicholsís band the Five Pennies. He later played with the McFarland Twins and their band, who previously were saxophonists with the Fred Waring band before branching out on their own. In 1940 he met Sammy Kaye, who gave him the name Don Cornell and hired him to join his Orchestra. Don performed and recorded with Sammy until 1942, when he left to join the war effort and flew B-17 bombers over Europe. He returned in 1946 and worked with Sammy until 1950, before leaving for a solo career.

The earliest song on this disc is I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen, written by Irving Berlin for his 1942 show This Is The Army, and recorded that year with Sammy Kayeís Orchestra on the Victor label. The trumpet and clarinet sections carry the tune, with Don crooning between verses. His voice matured over the next several years, and you can really hear the difference on It Isnít Fair, recorded in November 1949 by RCA Victor, where Don sings with the bolder, more confident style that made him famous. Although never really a swing band, Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra carved out a unique big-band niche and performed live and on radio shows for many years. One of the best songs on this disc is Iíll Walk Alone, written by Sammy Cahn and Jules Styne. It first appeared in the 1944 film Follow the Boys, where it was sung by Dinah Shore with a choral background due to a musicianís strike. Don recorded his version with Norman Leyden and his Orchestra in 1952 on the Coral label. The recording has a slightly odd echo at the beginning, possibly from the recording or microphones used, which adds to the overall effect, with his rich baritone accompanied by the lush, expressive orchestral string section. Some other interesting songs in this collection demonstrate Donís versatility. The Bible Told Me So, written by Dale Evans (wife of cowboy Roy Rogers), was recorded with Dick Jacobs and his Orchestra in 1955, and became a world-wide hit. One of my favorites is Rock Island Line, recorded on the Coral label with Jerry Carrettaís Orchestra and Chorus in 1956. The song is a traditional American folk tune that traces its origins back to the 1920ís and an Arkansas prison farm. Donís lively baritone fits the song perfectly, and itís too bad that he didnít record other hits from this era and the early days of rock and roll.

This music was compiled by Ray Crick, and restored and remastered by Martin Haskell.

The sound quality is excellent. A 12-page booklet is included, with interesting background notes and comments by Greg Gormick

Bruce McCollum