The Best of the Capitol Masters: Selections From The Legend and the Legacy
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Some songs here (notably "Lover" and "How High the Moon") are great, but at least as many are disappointing. Also, Les Paul's highly sped up guitar tracks can wear on the ears after a while - they're on nearly every track. In short, this album is essential listening for anyone interested in great guitar plaing and fancy production, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it holds up well to repeated listening.
There are only a few instrumental tracks here, and while those are very good indeed, some of Les's best stuff was left out. Had I been compiling this disc I would have included "Brazil", "Caravan", and my all time favorite Les Paul instrumental piece "Little Rock Getaway", in which Les cuts loose with just about everything in his arsenal. Like "Lover", it's a very interesting and complex arrangement that's a joy to hear.
I'm also a little puzzled as to why some of Mary Ford's best vocal work was left off this disc. I would have gladly traded her cover version of "Tennessee Waltz" for "Cryin'", a song that I consider to be one of the most beautiful things she's ever sung. "Dry My Tears", a song with which Mary Ford and Les Paul and closely identified, was also left out. That aside, I am thankful that the powers that be saw fit to include an edition of Les and Mary's radio program that features "Avalon", "Where or When", and "I'll See You in my Dreams", three songs that I would love to have heard in full on the box set.
All in all, I think this is a fairly good collection, albeit a bit heavy on the vocal hits and not nearly representative enough of Les Paul's extraordinary guitar talent. Until you're fortunate enough to find the box set, this collection will have to do.
For the most part throughout their collaboration (they divorced in 1963) the Mary Ford sides, with her silky-smooth, jazz-tinged voice, consistently outdid the purely instrumental sides - with three exceptions: Josephine, at # 12, finished six positions higher than I Wish I Had Never Seen Sunshine in August 1951 on Capitol 1592; Meet Mr. Callaghan, a # 5 in Sept-Oct 1952 on Capitol 2193 outpaced Take Me In Your Arms And Hold Me (# 15); and Moritat (Theme From A Three Penny Opera), a # 49 in Feb-March 1956 did much better than Nuevo Laredo (# 91). Of the sides just mentioned only Meet Mr. Callaghan is included here.
Everywhere else it was Mary's voice that made the hit, and whether or not that sat well with Les is known only to his close friends and acquaintances. But I have always wondered at the photo on the front of this disc, and the caption.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I expected masterful guitar work and innovative, ground-breaking technology coming from the man who invented a lot of it, but this disc is so much more. Read morePublished on February 1, 2010 by Michael S. Jackson
This has to be one of the very best retrospective albums ever produced. It spans the entire careers of the artists and includes much of their best work--from Les' experiments with... Read morePublished on November 1, 2005 by B. Tupper
If you think about it pop singing hit an all time low after the swing era ended and you had 2nd rate singers singing about doggies in the window, and music music music!!! Read morePublished on March 11, 2005 by Hepcat