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At the time Ben Bagley did Irving Berlin Revisited, it was not so easy to gain access to Mr. Berlin’s “trunk.” But the song choices Bagley came up with were lesser-known Berlin titles, some had no real recordings, and so at the time the album was as refreshing as all his Revisited albums were back when they originally came out. As always, his cast was tops: Richard Chamberlain, Blossom Dearie, Dorothy Loudon, and Bobby Short. And as he usually did for his CD releases, he added some additional material. What makes this album one of the best of the Bagleys was Norman Paris arranging and conducting. In fact, this is one of Paris’s best and the band is really good.
Irving Berlin had his first major hit with “Alexander’s Ragtime Band. From there, there was no looking back. He became one of the most iconic and beloved songwriters in the history of popular music. Twenty original Broadway shows, fifteen original Hollywood films, and one hit after another. His catalog is a laundry list of The Great American Songbook classics. His shows include such classics as Ziegfeld Follies, Face the Music, As Thousands Cheer, Louisiana Purchase, Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam, and his final Broadway show, Mr. President, and his films include Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Carefree, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Holiday Inn, This Is the Army, Blue Skies, Easter Parade, There’s No Business Like Show Business, White Christmas and more. As Jerome Kern wrote: “Irving Berlin has no place in American music – he is American music.”
As always with the Bagley albums, we have cleaned up the sound – this one was especially wacky to deal with – reversed channels on some songs and other sound issues. James Nelson has worked his magic here, so this sounds better than it ever has. And, of course, the great Harvey Schmidt cover art is always the icing on the Bagley cake. -KRITZERLAND
1. Beautiful Faces/Sadie Salome Go Home Bobby Short, William H. Elliott, Miles Kreuger, Dorothy Loudon
2. Lonely Heart Richard Chamberlain
3. It’ll Come to You Blossom Dearie, Bobby Short
4. Mr. Monotony Dorothy Loudon
5. Fools Fall in Love Richard Chamberlain
6. Dance and Grow Thin/Back to Back/The Yam Blossom Dearie, Bobby Short, Dorothy Loudon
7. Louisiana Purchase Dorothy Loudon, Bobby Short, William H. Elliott
8. How’s Chances Richard Chamberlain
9. Harlem on My Mind Bobby Short
10. Wild About You Blossom Dearie
11. Waiting at the End of the Road Dorothy Loudon, Bobby Short
12. I’m Getting Tired So I Can Sleep Richard Chamberlain
13. I’d Rather Lead a Band Bobby Short, Dorothy Loudon, Blossom Dearie
14. When I Lost You Ann Hampton Callaway
15. Rag Picker Arthur Siegel
16. Listening Sandy Stewart
17. Sex Marches On Ann Hampton Callaway, Rhonda Mae Callaway
18. Sorry for Myself Arthur Siegel
19. You’re Laughing at Me Ann Hampton Callaway
20. Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollars William Cantor
21. Lead Me to Love Sandy Stewart, Arthur Siegel
22. It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow Ann Hampton Callaway
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Norman Paris