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Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook
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Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook (Expanded Edition)
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The single best-selling volume in Ella's fabled Songbook series, with three bonus takes, original album art and terrific sound! 34 tracks.
Long considered a jewel in Verve Records' very impressive crown, Fitzgerald's songbook collections of various composers--a series that was started by the success of this set--are all wonderful, but her natural wit and intelligence was at its most perfect with Cole Porter's erudite, urbane songs. While not as scat-oriented as her small group outings, these Porter sets offer her most realized pop performances. Also, the gold remastering does a fine job of bringing out the nuances in the arrangements, making this a treasure for the serious collector and the casual listener alike. A true American music gem. --Skip Heller
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language: : English
- Product Dimensions : 5.79 x 4.96 x 0.63 inches; 5.15 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Verve
- Item model number : 2139256
- Original Release Date : 1997
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Date First Available : December 7, 2006
- Label : Verve
- ASIN : B0000047EG
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #33,156 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Apart from having a wonderful voice, Ella was next to incomparable when it came to interpreting lyrics. It is no wonder that lyricists loved her and were ecstatic when she covered one of their songs. It is also no wonder that during the course of her career Ella recorded various "Song Books" in which she took the work of a great composer/lyricist and dedicated an album or two to their work. Ella did Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, the Gershwins', and Jerome Kern song books among others. They are all wonderful to listen to, all 5-star performances (with the possible exception of the Gershwin song book) but my favorite of all her song books is this one: "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book".
Although the first half of the 20th century had a surplus of great songwriters (see the above) there was something about Cole Porter's work that has kept his lyrics fresh and even edgy in the 21st-century. The pairing of Fitzgerald and Porter then is the equivalent of the perfect storm: A lyricist whose lyrics are funny, witty, charming and, yes, poetic; and a singer capable of doing justice to those great lyrics makes for a memorable CD.
This is a 2-CD set. It contains an awful lot of Porter's great songs. Anything Goes, Too Darn Hot, Let's Do it, and I'm Always True to You in My Fashion are my highlights for CD-1. Night and Day, I've Got You Under My Skin, Love for Sale, and You're the Top, top off CD-2. Ella recorded these in 1956 under the auspices of the wonderful producer Norman Granz. Verve Records has restored the masters and the sound quality is excellent for a re-mastered recording.
Cole Porter once said that "In olden days a glimpse of stockings, was looked on as something shocking, Now heaven knows, anything goes." Well, all these decades later these songs go great with anything. You can enjoy them "in the still of the night" or "all through the night". These songs "do something to me" and I can say nothing more than this CD is the tops, it's the Tower of Pisa, it's the smile on the Mona Lisa.
If you can find this available, do yourself a favor and buy it, then sit back and enjoy.
No refund, they offered to replace it, but why would I want another one that I can't play?
Top reviews from other countries
There are more than enough Ella fans on here giving her due praise – I have nothing to add to that – it has all been said!
There is just one downside with this album IMHO, in getting one artiste to sing so many songs from the same composer. Some are classics of course, but many are not? Even allowing for a top artiste and fantastic band / orchestra, it is asking a lot to hit the mark with the listener again and again, over what is a very lengthy 35 songs?
Her voice is as smooth as silk and legendarily crystal clear, like a Rolls Royce if you like, but it’s not an exciting voice and tends to stay at one obliging level most of the time and seldom reaches the higher notes or exciting crescendos. It is rather like an expensive time piece, accurate, on time and seldom lets you down. I do not find her singing exciting on this album. The likes of Etta James would seem to me a far more expansive, evocative and an exciting voice to listen to – just my opinion, no more that!
I also bought Ella singing Gershwin and had the same thoughts.
Back to the album and 35 songs? My problem was maintaining an interest, as over the piece, one song morphed into another, eventually sounding so similar that I lost interest, even the orchestration started to sound the same – as I suppose it would, but the two together, failed to lift my senses and eventually became no more than pleasant background music.
I am therefore coming to my main point. To sing the songs of a great composer like Cole Porter, I believe it is more enjoyable to have a ‘compilation’ of singers and backing bands – it gives the songs more verve, variety and interest, without distracting from the music of the composer in question.
For instance, Michael Buble does a great version of ‘Begin the Beguine?’ Manhattan Transfer’s version of ‘Love for Sale’ can’t be matched? ‘I’ve Got You under My Skin,’ by Frank Sinatra is as good as anyone’s, and there are other Cole Porter songs that he sings that I could say exactly the same about?
Sammy Davis’s ‘Too Darn Hot’ takes some beating, Bet Midler’s version of ‘ Miss Ottis Regrets’ is superb and so full of life?
Natalie Cole’s ‘Every time we say Goodbye’ is every bit as good as Ella’s version on here? Even Charlie Parker’s ‘I love Paris,’ as an instrumental, is worth considering for some variety, not to mention 'Deano's' version of course? Finally, 'Night and Day' by the Temptations is such a stunningly beautiful version?
I think you get my point, though I accept that most of you ‘Ella’ fans will never agree to such sacrilege! Don't misunderstand me here, I have given this album a lot of air time and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Definitely one to take to the desert island.