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More of This Thing Called Love - Love Songs From 1940s & 50s
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Product Code: PPCD78151
Quantity: Now Only 10.00 ($14.08)

More of This Thing Called Love - Love Songs From 1940s & 50s

A fine collection of the greatest ever love songs, this CD is the follow up to our hugely successful album 'What Is This Thing Called Love' and features 25 superb 1940s and 50s tracks about love ..

"The CDs are so much better than anything I've heard before, that I won't use anyone else again!" Mr L, London

Track Listing

  1. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Dream A Little Dream Of Me
  2. Dean Martin - If
  3. Billie Holiday - Crazy He Calls Me
  4. Frank Sinatra - Someone To Watch Over Me
  5. Jo Stafford - I Never Loved Anyone
  6. Mel Torme - I Hadn't Anyone Till You
  7. Margaret Whiting - Guilty
  8. Perry Como - More Than You Know
  9. Ella Fitzgerald - Soon
  10. Doris Day & Buddy Clark - I'll String Along With You
  11. Nat King Cole - Orange Coloured Sky
  12. Jo Stafford - Once And For Always
  13. Billie Holiday - There Is No Greater Love
  14. Frank Sinatra - Always
  15. Sarah Vaughan - Body And Soul
  16. Perry Como - Please Believe Me
  17. Dinah Shore - You'll Always Be The One I Love
  18. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No)
  19. Margaret Whiting - You Do
  20. Frank Sinatra - What'll I Do?
  21. Doris Day & Buddy Clark - Love Somebody
  22. Billie Holiday - Youre My Thrill
  23. Peggy Lee - Them There Eyes
  24. Dean Martin - I'll Always Love You (Day After Day)
  25. Ella Fitzgerald - How Long Has This Been Going On?


40s & 50s Love Songs

  • 20th Century Singer/Songwriters
  • 25 Vintage Love Songs
  • Songs With Enduring Appeal
  • Sequel To 'What Is This Thing Called Love?'
  • Over 1 Hour Of Romantic Recordings

Cover Notes

Love comes in many guises these days.  We live in meretricious times so love for self, love for money and most corrosively, love for power are commonplace. And increasingly the love that once dared not speak its name is accepted and promoted.   Oh yes, and lest we forget, there still remains the kind of love that we celebrate in this collection of fine old songs from yesteryear.  They hark back a half-a-century or more, to a more innocent age than our own, when storybook conventions called for boy to meet girl; boy and girl then to embark on a marriage made in heaven and live happily ever after.   Not for them the option and consequent opprobrium of 'living-in-sin', as our parents might have called it.

Oddly, despite the freedoms of co-habitation and the lack of moral censure these days, we remain as committed to pure romance as ever. Whole magazines are devoted to the conventional misty-eyed view of love and to the fantasy of the perfect wedding day.  Mills and Boon continue to flourish, so who says old-fashioned sentiment is dead?    Listen to our compilation and you'll discover the ideal soundtrack for each stage in this romantic journey. 

What's more the songs themselves have specific qualities that explain their enduring appeal. First, the message of the lyrics still rings true.  Second, the melodies linger in the unconscious mind.   In other words, the fusion of words and music is spot-on.   Why should this surprise us?  Most of these compositions are the work of the best American popular composers and lyricists, many from the heyday of American musical theatre, long before rock and roll took hold.  They are performed by some of the greatest artists of the Twentieth century, singers and musicians lauded for their contributions to Broadway shows, to Hollywood movies, and to popular recording history.  Think back as you listen to the happy lovers of an earlier generation who played these recordings all then on 78rpm individual discs on their wind-up gramophones, dancing and dreaming of life-long amour.

We open with a pretty tune performed by two titans of American popular culture, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.  Both came from under-privileged backgrounds: Fitzgerald from Newport News in Virginia and Armstrong from 'back-of-town' New Orleans.  Each was exposed to vicious racism and virtually abandoned by their parents as youngsters.  Fitzgerald made it to New York, lived on the streets, won an amateur contest at Harlem's celebrated Apollo Theatre and prospered.  Armstrong was the son of a single mother who resorted to prostitution and was put into a Negro Waif's Home when he appeared to be beyond control.  Once there, he learned the cornet and began to attract attention for his jazz improvisations.  Later, he moved to Chicago and made a series of extraordinary instrumental records

Armstrong also began to sing in a highly idiosyncratic manner, his rhythmic phrasing and emphasis influencing a whole roster of emerging vocalists including Fitzgerald.  It remains a splendid paradox that two people from such humble origins should have triumphed so brilliantly, performing around the world, at one with presidents, popes, monarchs and every level of society.   The cute lyrics of Dream A Little Dream of Me, a 1931 composition, are by Gus Kahn, born in Germany in 1886 and justly famous for his work in Hollywood movies including the immortal Marx Brothers film A Day at The Races. The composers are Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt.  Its Armstrong's soaring trumpet that we hear first, before Ella's creamy vocal takes us through the melody, with Louis adding a trumpet obbligato.  The two then sing together and scat in good-humoured fashion, and the orchestra chips in with a final flourish.  Their second piece is Can Anyone Explain? by songwriters George Weiss and Bennie Benjamin, who were also responsible for such familiar numbers as Wheel of Fortune and Too Close For Comfort.  Ella and Satchmo went on to make a number of highly regarded albums together, backed by the Oscar Peterson Trio.

These days Dean Martin is best remembered as part of the Rat Pack, the group of cinema actors and hedonists headed by Frank Sinatra, and for his movie appearances with comedian Jerry Lewis.  Yet he always had a parallel career as a crooner in the mould established by Bing Crosby.  His rounded baritone makes this version of Tolchard Evans's 1950 classic If an exercise in romantic yearning, the backing string-laden and mellow.  Martin (real name: Dino Crocetti) was once described as having a style that was nonchalant and tongue-in-cheek, a viewpoint given weight by his performance of Jay Livingston's 1950 fulsome I'll Always Love You (composed for the movie My Friend Irma Goes West).   Martin comes across here as the ultimate heartthrob, the accordion adding the appropriate Italianate touch. He died on Christmas Day 1995; his final years spent mostly dining alone at an Italian eatery in Beverley Hills, according to writer Roger Kinkle.

The superlative singer Billie Holiday had a troubled life and was another African-American whose childhood was blighted by abuse.  Billie could be abrasive and it's easy to portray her as a victim whose struggles with drug addiction finally did her down.  Indeed her story formed the basis for the film Lady Sings The Blues and there are innumerable books and documentaries devoted to her.  Despite Billie's many vicissitudes she was among the most touching of jazz singers, with a gift for distinctive variation that was uniquely her own.   Here she excels as a ballad stylist with three fine songs, first on the delightful Crazy He Calls Me, copyrighted in 1950, with clever lyrics by Bob Russell, a man who collaborated with the best, including the song's composer Carl Sigman, a Broadway show specialist.  Note her husky, acrid sound and plaintive, almost fragile vocal quality.  How good Billie sounded with strings!  

The arrangements on this and You're My Thrill are by that master of the lush accompaniment, Gordon Jenkins, who also conducts the orchestra.   Holiday's second selection is There Is No Greater Love composed by bandleader Isham Jones in 1936, with lyrics by Martin Symes.  Jones, who also wrote On The Alamo, disbanded in '36 (the remnants of his orchestra were taken over by Woody Herman).  Billie's version dates from 1947 and it is bassist Bob Haggart's orchestra in support here, with Billy Butterfield's muted trumpet as the perfect second voice.  Billie was in prime form in the 1950s, assured and upbeat, some years away from her decline and death in 1959, aged only 44.  You're My Thrill, by the Russian-born Jay Gorney (composer of the Depression anthem Brother Can You Spare A Dime?) was copyrighted in 1934 and has lyrics by Sidney Clare (who may still be doing penance for devising The Good Ship Lollipop for the overly-cute Shirley Temple). 

What is there left to say about Frank Sinatra that has not been already stated in countless biographies?  That he was the popular singer for the Twentieth Century, the first man to attract groupies (then called 'bobby-soxers') and to epitomize celebrity as both vocalist and screen idol?  That he was a difficult man but also a generous one?   That he married and pursued some of the world's most beautiful women?   All this and more, for it's clear that Sinatra stood alone as the supreme interpreter of the crafted show song as typified by those represented in our collection.

It is this appealing fusion of creativity the melodic originality of George Gershwin and Irving Berlin with artistry the vocal interpretations of Sinatra – that is on offer here.  Someone To Watch Over Me was created by the prolific Gershwin brothers (music by George, lyrics by Ira) in 1926 for a Broadway show Oh Kay! that starred the British actress Gertrude Lawrence.  There’s a measured, almost world-weary quality to Sinatra’s vocal here.  Berlin’s Always (from 1925 but revived in 1944) and What’ll I Do (written for the Music Box Revue of 1923) are typical examples of Berlin’s timeless paeans to the pleasures of love.  Alex Stordahl conducted and cushioned Sinatra’s performances in appropriately lush style.

Like Sinatra, the cool-sounding Jo Stafford emerged from the ranks of the big bands.  Her later career was spent in radio with her husband Paul Weston as her accompanist and arranger.  I Never Loved Anyone is a pleasing example of a little-known song that has real quality while the rather more celebrated Once And For Always is from the engaging comedy film A Connecticut Yankee At King Arthur’s Court (starring Bing Crosby and Rhonda Fleming).  Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke, one of the great songwriting teams, had a mass of hits to their joint credit.  Consider Darn That Dream, Swinging On A Star and Love and Marriage, for example.   

Mel Torme was nicknamed ‘The Velvet Fog’ (once unforgivably misprinted as ‘The Velvet Frog’) as a tribute to his smooth, ethereal vocal sound. Torme was quite an all-rounder: as vocalist, capable pianist,  proficient drummer, and skilled musical arranger and songwriter.  In later life, after a long career crowned with every kind of accolade, he proved to be an excellent writer, and turned out novels and a fine biography of super-drummer Buddy Rich.  I Hadn’t Anyone Till You, written in 1938 by the British bandleader Ray Noble, is an exercise in romantic melancholy, with Torme sharing the melody with a choral group.

Margaret Whiting was the daughter of noted composer Richard Whiting. She sings Guilty (composed by her father in 1931, with lyrics by Gus Kahn) with a kind of sure-footed yet stately ease. The writer Whitney Balliett summed up her strengths thus: “She has unerring dynamics, perfect pitch, and a tightly controlled vibrato.”  He’s right, at that.   Her second item is You Do, a pop song from the 1947 Betty Grable film, Mother Wore Tights, described in the Halliwell guide as ‘a reasonably charming family musical.’  The well-schooled Ms Whiting, who was born in 1924, later teamed up with fellow-singer Rosemary Clooney to form a successful singing group.

Most people remember Perry Como for his relaxed TV persona when his syndicated show became popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Influenced by Bing Crosby, he sings the lovely ballad More than You Know with due care and warmth.  This was written by Vincent Youmans (of No No Nanette fame) for a Broadway show called Great Day that flopped after only 36 performances.  Happily, his wonderful song survived.  Como is similarly effective on the lesser known Please Believe Me.

Ella Fitzgerald’s pair of solo performances are from her much-prized Decca album Ella Sings Gershwin.   Soon comes from the musical Strike Up the Band staged in 1930 while How Long Has This Been Going On, a Gershwin masterpiece, comes from Rosaline, a show written in 1928 by brother Ira and the English humorist P.G. Wodehouse.   Listen to Ella’s peerless diction at these mellow tempos and her sensitivity to the needs of the text and you’ll understand why she was called ‘The First Lady of Song.’  Her accompanist is the Baltimore pianist Ellis Larkins, always succinct, each phrase an exercise in rhythmic subtlety. 

When Doris Kappelhoff (born 1924) embarked on her career as a popular singer, it seemed better to adopt the name Doris Day.  This sensible move helped her gain fame as a band ‘chirp’ and film actress, although her ‘sunny personality and girl-next-door image’ might have been a contributing factor!   She is teamed here on two tracks with Samuel Goldberg, another who changed his name, this time to Buddy Clark.  A Crosby man through and through, Clark was killed in 1949 when only 37 after he was thrown from a plane that crashed in Los Angeles on the way back from a football game.  They duet steadily on a familiar Harry Warren standard, I’ll String Along With You, originally written for Twenty Million Sweethearts, a 1934 vehicle for the talents of Ginger Rogers and Dick Powell.  Their second piece, Love Somebody is a nifty 1947 composition by the husband-and-team of Alex Kramer and Joan Whitney.

Nat King Cole was the son of a Chicago minister who disapproved of jazz. Nonetheless, Nat was determined to perform as a jazz pianist and took to the road.  When he was stranded in Los Angeles in 1936 he formed a trio that became locally popular.  After a club owner prompted him to sing, an entirely new career opened up.  Cole became enormously successful on record, playing concert tours and appearing regularly on TV and in movies until he was felled by cancer in 1965.  Something of a novelty, Orange Coloured Sky (by accordionist-composer Milton De Lugg) was copyrighted in 1950. The warm-sounding Cole is heard here with his trio, his piano voiced with guitar, challenged by a brash orchestral backing. Another superlative African-American singer, Sarah Vaughan, usually known as ‘Sassy’ soars on Body and Soul, giving this powerful Johnny Green composition a languorous yet definitive reading.  Written in 1930 (with no less than three lyricists involved) it was used as the theme for a 1947 boxing film of the same name.  Jazz musicians have favoured it ever since the celebrated tenor-saxophonist Coleman Hawkins created a superb version of the song, setting new standards for creative improvisation.

Dinah Shore had a ‘soft, delicate voice’ yet became a top female singer on record and radio.  She later had her own TV series.  She sings You’ll Always Be The One I Love with her customary poise and aplomb.  Yet another who suffered childhood abuse, Peggy Lee (born Norma Deloris Egstrom in North Dakota in 1920) was spotted in 1941 by bandleader Benny Goodman and soon clicked with the public; she then married guitarist Dave Barbour who leads the jazz group accompanying her on the very jaunty Them There Eyes.   The arrangement is probably by Benny Carter and it would be hard to imagine a better treatment of this Maceo Pinkard 1930 hit song. Incidentally, Pinkard composed the equally familiar Sweet Georgia Brown. 

And there you have it.  Twenty-five songs: twenty-five views of love.  Fine performances by superior artists, many now lost to us. Happily, their recordings have been rescued and lovingly restored with clarity suitable for the CD age.   Take the time to absorb their message, to wonder at the interpretations offered by these fine vocalists, and your affection for them is bound to deepen and grow. Sounds like the definition of true love itself, doesn’t it?

Peter Vacher/September 2001

With grateful thanks to David Nathan at the National Jazz Foundation Archive in Loughton for his help and expertise.

Customer Testimonials

  • "Fulfilled all expectations! .... . I have bought this to play at our parents 60th wedding anniversary, I think they are going to love it. The digital remastering really pays off and the selection of songs and artist is just perfect for the occasion in mind. So good to have love songs about being in love and commitment, as apposed to our modern songs which seemed to be more about breaking up and betrayal. This is a great CD!"

    "Again from Past Perfect, we have crystal clear clarity like a modern recording."  In Tune International

    "I already have 20 Past Perfect albums in my collection and they are an unfailing source of pleasure. What’s more, the service is exceptional, with discs generally arriving the day after you’ve ordered them." Mr CS, Hertfordshire UK

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    Availability: Guaranteed In-Stock
    Product Code: PPCD78151
    Quantity: Now Only 10.00 ($14.08)