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  • Oh, Lady, Be Good! - Best Of The Gershwin Songbook
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Oh, Lady, Be Good! - Best Of The Gershwin Songbook

31 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 30, 1996
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Oh, Lady, Be Good! - Best Of The Gershwin Songbook + The Best of the Song Books + Love Songs: Best of the Verve Song Books
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ira Gershwin was at these storied 1959 sessions! Here are 17 of the best from the five original LPs: Oh, Lady, Be Good!; But Not for Me; 'S Wonderful; I Got Rhythm , and more!

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Ella recorded five LPs' worth of Gershwin tunes for her songbook series, which was frankly a little much, so this single disc skims the cream. These songs are the ur-texts of American pre-war pop, straightforward love songs made to flow off a singer's tongue, and here they're in the hands of a master. Nelson Riddle's arrangements tend toward the soupy side--the bombastic string sections are distinctly nonjazz--but Ella, as always, sings with absolute taste and authority. She doesn't seem to be living inside the lyrics the way she does with, say, the Cole Porter songbook, but the simplicity of the Gershwins' melodies and sentiments let her get across some gently nuanced, technically exquisite singing. --Douglas Wolk


1. Fascinating Rhythm
2. 'S Wonderful
3. Someone to Watch over Me
4. He Loves and She Loves
5. Oh, Lady, Be Good!
6. A Foggy Day
7. How Long Has This Been Going On?
8. Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
9. But for Me
10. My One & Only
11. I've Got a Crush on You
12. Nice Work if You Can Get It
13. The Man I Love
14. Funny Face
15. Embraceable You
16. They Can't Take That Away From Me
17. I Got Rhythm

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 30, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000004711
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,341 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
For those who want to hear Ella weave her magic in crisp, sparkling STEREO this is one of the VERY best of her many CDs. On this one she performs a unique, slow-tempo "Oh Lady Be Good" (that's right, SLOW and MELLOW as you've never heard it before and as only she could do it - and this alone is worth the price of admission). All the other top Gershwin goodies ("A Foggy Day", "But not For Me", "The Man I Love", etc.) are enhanced by Nelson Riddle's incomparable arrangements recorded in magnificent wrap-around sound that puts you right in front row center. So buckle up. This is a thrill-ride you'll want to experience again and again and again!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hill on July 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the top collections of Ella Fitzgerald. Her smooth voice brings such joy when you hear her sing "I Got Rhythym." The best song on this CD is probably "Someone To Watch Over Me," which is an absolutely lovely song. It almost makes you cry. I highly recommend that you buy this CD if you are interested in Ella Fitzgerald; this is some of her top work.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By toddcarlsen@earthlink.net on July 31, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Her intonation, timing and sweet delivery are astonishing on this CD. Superb pop/swing arrangements by Nelson Riddle. Beautiful, romantic and entertaining. I don't care who you are, you will regard this as one of the greatest CDs you have ever heard. Not pure jazz like her other "must have" CD's, but this collection of superb Gershwin tunes is her most beautiful.
The liner notes included with this CD sum it up perfectly: "If, as is widely believed, Ella Fitzgerald is the best female jazz singer... her songbook albums constitute her best work... the Gershwin volume is the best of the songbook series and... this is the best of the Gershwin collection, then what you have here is the best of the best of the best of the best."
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "nabbott6" on September 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Ella's voice is part of my childhood. She and George Gershwin played my lullabies. Not a bad introduction to music. Even now when I can't sleep I bring her back and let her sing in my head. Was there ever anything as lovely as Ella's voice? Everything falls away except the for the pure magic of her voice, the orchestra soaring...
This CD comes as close to the old "Ella Sings Gershwin" LP my parents had that I have found. Only "Clap a'Yo Hands" is missing. These are songs you love to listen to and love to sing. All my life I'll be grateful that Ella taught me how to sing! How can you not sing when you hear "Someone to Watch Over Me"? "The Man I Love"? How sweet is "I've Got a Crush on You"? I feel like I've just found buried treasure! I've got more Ella recordings that anything else in my collection, but like the CD itself says, "The Best of the Best of the Best of the Best." It's fabulous to have the all these amazing songs on one CD.
I just got myself a great present. You should get one too!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "sanstv" on September 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Perfection. Ella Fitzgerald at the height of her immense powers. She was fortunate to have orchestrations by Nelson Riddle, who was also at the top of his game. Ella was the greatest interpreter of show tunes (only Frank Sinatra was her equal in this regard), and her voice is silk on this CD. " 'S Wonderful" is wonderful; "Facinating Rhythm" gives me shivers. "But Not For Me" is both heartbreaking and joyous, and her version of "They Can't Take That Away From Me" is the best ever -- except for the duet she did with of it with Louis Armstrong.
This is not for people who want an introduction to Ella's jazz singing -- you won't hear her scat on this recording. But it is a great introduction to her singing, and it's less intimidating than the entire three-disc set of all the Gershwin tunes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julie LaPierre on March 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
It doesn't get any smoother than Ella Fitzgerald and Nelson Riddle on this must own CD. Pure magic from the lyrics and melody, to the orchestration and especially Ms. Ella's silken voice. A treat for music lovers of all ages. I encourage younger listeners to hear what real music sounds like. I'm 39, and I love Ella Fitzgerald. Buy this one for those raining evenings when you turn down the lights, light some candles, and dance with your sweetheart.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By ALAIN ROBERT on March 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Only die hard fans of GERSHWIN should buy the massive songbook ELLA AND NELSON RIDDLE made in 1959 ,because the great songs are all included here.Back in those days ,GERSHWIN was still considered the best AMERICAN composer, probably because he was the only one who tried the classical experience and succeeded ,and also because of the fact that he died young.Nowadays we know that RICHARD RODGERS and JOHNNY MERCER are the deserving legends of AMERICAN popular music.Having said that let me say that this collection is perfect,it's really the best.Personal favorites of mine are SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME and BUT NOT FOR ME.Even the guy from TEXAS should enjoy that one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By js001 on April 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Ella is great and Gershwin is (are?) great. The whole is even greater than the parts, however, in this incredible recording. If you like Ella, you'll love this album. If you like Gershwin, you'll love this album. If you like both, you'll play it until the laser burns a hole in the CD!
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