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Sweepin' The Clouds Away (Remastered)

4.9 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 30, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Early 20th century dance band arrangements of music by Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Duke Ellington, Harry Warren, Richard Whiting, Harry Revel, Ralph Rainger, Sam Coslow, Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Johnston, Fred Ahlert, Rube Bloom, and E.A. Swan. * * * * * * * *

Review

A half a century ago, Johnny Crawford was a teenage idol charting Top Ten hits such as Cindy's Birthday and Rumors and playing Chuck Connors son on the popular western ABC television series, The Rifleman, which remains a daily dinnertime staple of Chicago-based MeTV. Crawford also sang on the show (and as an original Mouseketeer before that) and recorded five albums. Still, none of that prepared me for the shock that I had upon first hearing his new album, Sweepin the Clouds Away. A vintage recreation of authentic dance band arrangements from the 1920s and 1930s, Sweepin the Clouds Away is a collection of live tracks by the Los Angeles-based Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra, an eleven-piece collective formed in 1990 following Crawford's stint as the vocalist of Vince Giordano's Nighthawks Orchestra. With Crawford as leader/vocalist, the Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra painstakingly seeks to perform music of that elegant bygone era, paying careful attention to the performance practices of the time. A fixture at Hollywood celebrity parties and entertainment industry functions, this is the group's first album. There is no shortage of people doing this kind of music, to be sure, but virtually all attempts I have come across contemporize the music by either featuring instruments and later arrangement trends not known in that era or through using more modern styles of singing and playing that sound out of place. Not here. This sounds so authentic that it is actually disconcerting to not hear static and pops and to be able to hear the individual lines of the music so clearly. Crawford's carefree crooning style at times suggests Rudy Vallee, but upon closer listening, he is actually more reminiscent of a young Bing Crosby in his early jazz days, when he was still a tenor. These are musical renditions, to be sure, but Crawford is able to bring his actor prowess to his ability to communicate inner meanings of lyrics. Particularly memorable is the title track, Sam Coslow's Sweepin the Clouds Away from 1930's Paramount on Parade, heard here in a dance-band arrangement by one of the vintage arrangers of the day, Illinois native, Chicago Musical College graduate and later Hollywood composer/arranger Frank Skinner. Skinner arrangements make up the bulk of the album, which also includes songs by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, Rodgers and Hart and Duke Ellington, among others. Some of the album is unusually personal, such as Harry Warren's I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store) which was written about Crawford's Chicago grandparents, a song plugger and a Woolworth's pianist. Even the contemporary band photographs and art direction which are pictured alongside fascinating vintage photographs are reminiscent of the era. The overall effect of this extraordinarily optimistic old-time party album is like hearing a collection of vintage 78s brought to life, quite an impressive feat. (Dennis Polkow) --Newcity-Chicago, May 3, 2012
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 30, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Crawford Music
  • ASIN: B005G547H6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,904 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I'm a senior who remembers when singers could carry a tune without yelling and making strange un-musical sounds. Listening to this orchestra and singer take me away to a more pleasant time in the history of music.
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The moment I began listening to this beautifully remastered collection, I was transported to a bygone era where music filled the ballrooms and poured out onto the streets. "Sweepin' The Clouds Away" is sublime, all the way around. The songs are masterfully recorded and positively dreamy, recreating the actual experience of Johnny's live performances to a tee. This is a must for both aficionados and neophytes of this treasured musical epoch.
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This is a wonderful CD! I heard my 13-year old the other day singing "Isn't it Romantic?" from this CD--we keep it in the car and listen to it often. We're glad Johnny Crawford performs the music from this era live, and recorded the CD. "Sweepin' the Clouds Away" & "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (In a Five- and Ten-Cent Store)" are my favorites, but the whole CD is great. It's impossible to be in a bad mood when you hear it. Great job, Johnny!
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I absolutely love this CD! Johnny Crawford is so fabulous. I have been a huge fan since I was a young girl and have carried "my crush" on him and his many talents into my adulthood. Do it again, Johnny!!!
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Johnny Crawford brings the magic of the 30's music to life. His voice, the arrangements, the songs...SUPERB! I feel like I have gone back in time! I listen to this CD all the time and it makes me smile each time. A great gift idea too for anyone you know who loves the great songs of yesterday. I have seen Johnny perform live too and he's fantastic. Thank you Johnny for putting this CD together. Do more!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I really enjoyed the Johnny Crawford of the 60s with all his teen angst.He was an excellent young singer.
This labor of love tilts us into big band Rudee Vallee- type crooning and is recorded(mastered) excellently.The lush arrangements and authentic baladeering had me amazed at Johnnys' transformation. I'd give it all the stars but sometimes it's a bit repetitive in the vocal dept. All in all a curiosity that is satisfying!A must for those that are big band hungry.
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Hard to top the great reviews here, so will just say I heartily endorse them. Johnny Crawford himself said that he'd always been moved by the sound and the spirit of songs from this era, and it certainly shows here. He brings much talent, respect, musicality, and a great sense of fun to these recordings.

Myself, I find they are great to listen to while tooling around in the car. If I get stuck at a red light, who cares? More time to listen to the Johnny Crawford Dance Band play and to Johnny, himself, singing lyrics like "I found a Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten-cent Store."

Sing, Johnny, Sing!
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I'm very happy with my purchase of the lovely 'Sweepin' the Clouds Away' Live album with Johnny Crawford and The Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra. The songs from the album were recorded live, beautifully remastered, and sound amazing. I find his music very relaxing and very enjoyable. Johnny Crawford can sing, he certainly proved this early in the 60's with such hits as 'Cindy's Birthday' and 'Rumors' and now continues with this album. His Orchestra performs wonderfully lively music that one can certainly dance too, and the music is from the late 1920's - mid 1930's era. There are a total of 14 songs and I enjoy every one of them. The sound quality is great and it sounds as good as a studio recording. Very impressive! If you're a fan of Johnny Crawford/The Rifleman this is a highly recommended purchase! A 5 star album! I can only hope that he has more albums to come and that he tours because I would certainly go to his concert. I know he has alot of talent and this continues to prove it! Way to go Johnny! I'm sure your Pa is looking down from above very proud of you. :)
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