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Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, October 28, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Johnny Mercer is the only lyricist Ella Fitzgerald saluted in her celebrated Songbook Series, this recording being the last of her songbooks for Verve. Once again summoning her peerless gift for popular song, Ella benefits from the brilliant arranging skills of Nelson Riddle. This lovely summation of the landmark series is a Verve Master Edition reissue release, featuring 20-bit digital transfer and deluxe, full color digipak.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 28, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B0000047G2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,495 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Ella Fitzgerald Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ella Fitzgerald pays tribute to the great Johnny Mercer with this album of just a few of his greatest hits. Ella's tribute to Johnny is the only songbook she recorded for any lyricist--what an honor she paid to Mercer! Ella handles these beautiful numbers with sensitivity, grace and confidence. The CD proves her incredible vocal skills truly enhanced Johnny Mercer's artistry.

The CD track set begins with "Too Marvelous For Words." The big band style arrangement by Nelson Riddle swings right along with Ella's vocal gymnastics. Great! Ella's excellent diction remains constant as she performs "Too Marvelous For Words." Love that piano with the horns in the middle of "Too Marvelous For Words!" "Day In, Day Out" presents Ella as a co-star with Nelson Riddle's arrangement; together Ella's voice and the musicians complement each other perfectly. Ella even scats a bit! What a fantastic love ballad.

"Laura" comes from the movie of the same name; and the key changes on the musical arrangement work well. Ella sings this sweetly with great sensitivity which, combined with the music, gives "Laura" a haunting quality. Excellent! Ella swings ever so gently as she tells the story of how a man sees his former wife everywhere he goes. The horns and the strings bolster "Laura," too.

"Skylark" starts with a beautiful flute arrangement; when Ella comes in the number shines like polished gold! Ella swings gently just as she did on "Laura;" and this works wonders for "Skylark." On the other hand, "Something's Gotta Give" gives us a bouncy, upbeat number that swings brightly. Ella delivers this with all her heart and the effect is absolutely electric! Ella never misses a note; and Nelson Riddle's arrangement uses the horns and percussion to carry the bulk of the melody.
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Format: Audio CD
I first came across the voice of Ella Fitzgerald via the 1988 movie Torch Song Trilogy. The movie was eye opening and life changing for me on so many levels. In a way, although of course I was unaware of it at the time, it was also a glimpse into my future. I wept for hours afterwards even though I didn't fully realise what I was weeping about. If only I knew then what I know now.

Anyway, Ella's "This Time The Dream's On Me" was used more than once during the course of the film and it also accompanied the closing credits. I fell in love with the song immediately. I was out searching for the soundtrack soon after but to my dismay when I eventually found it, the song was not listed. (I learned later that legal complications meant that the song couldn't be included). Further research and searching led to this songbook and I immediately bought it on vinyl. I couldn't get enough of Ella's voice after that and have since bought a considerable number of her albums on both vinyl and CD (I love the Songbooks especially) but somehow, this is the one I always keep coming back to. I've now finally got it on CD and while the cover art is different to what was on my LP version (although it is noted as the "original cover art"), I'm pleased to see that they have at least kept the songs in the same running order.

According to the sticker label on the front of the CD, "Johnny Mercer is the only only lyricist Ella saluted in her celebrated Songbook series. Benefiting from the brilliant arranging skills of Nelson Riddle, she once again summons her peerless gift for interpreting song - a lovely, and telling, album." This was also the last of Fitzgerald's songbooks for Verve.
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1 Comment 11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
A legendary lyricist was Johnny Mercer, from the thirties "Hooray for Hollywood" to the sixties "Moon River", Mr. Mercer added his poetic vision to enhance beautiful melodies. Miss Fitzgerald recorded this tribute to, "The Man from Charleston", for Verve Records in her songbook cycle. I particularly like this one for, Mercer wrote lyrics with some of the best composers in America. The disc contains, "Midnight Sun" written by Lionel Hampton, "Laura" by David Raksin, "This Time The Dreams On Me" by Harold Arlen and Mercer's own music and lyrics, the haunting, "Dream". Great arrangements and Ella's impeccable phrasing add up to a sumptious tribute to a wonderful talent.
2 Comments 11 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
The below review was mine from a long time ago, so I added it again under my name.
I haven't heard the rest of the album, but I'm going to give it a four just on the strength of "Laura" and "Midnight Sun." Laura, a fine ballad from the superb film-noir classic, lives up to the film's standard with Ella's timeless vocal, along with a beautiful arrangement. The repeating crescendo, representing the hypnotic tick of the grandfather clock at the film's end, is what first pulls you in. Then, Ella's classic reading of the already descriptive lyric puts image after glorious image in your head. The arrangement, gentle as a breeze, takes on its own life without upstaging her, and as she hold that last note and trails off, you'll want more, you'll want to hear it again, and as I did, you'll almost certainly play it once more.
"Midnight Sun" almost rises to the level of "Laura." The classic tune popularized by swing-era vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, was given a truly classic lyric by Johnny Mercer that should go down in music history, if only for the incredible rhyming job ("Your lips were like a red and ruby CHALICE/Warmer than the summer night/The clouds were like an alabaster PALACE/Rising to a snowy height/Each star its own Aurora BOREALIS/Suddenly you held me tight/And I saw the midnight sun..."). Ella masterfully (as always) guides herself through the words, singing them so well that, once again, you can see what's happening. And, as an added bonus, there's a vibe accompaniment, as a nod to Hamilton. Both of these are among her very finest work and should be near the top of her "Very Best" list.
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