Allegro subsidiary, Cocktail Hour, has been releasing bargain priced two CD sets of some of the great singers of the American Popular Song. One of the more celebrated, Jo Stafford, is represented in that series with a compilation of songs she recorded for Capitol Records during the 1940s before moving over to Columbia where she scored with her greatest hits. As a measure of the popularity she achieved, over a career that spanned more than 25 years, Jo Stafford sold more than 25 million records! One of the problems with lower priced CD sets is that there is little provided in the way of discographical information. But we know that several of the cuts on this album were with husband Paul Weston's Orchestra. The group that she sang with during her Tommy Dorsey Days, the Pied Pipers, back her on some songs such as "The Trolley Song". Capitol Record founder and one of our most prolific and successful writers of popular songs, composer, Johnny Mercer, joins Stafford on "Blues in the Night" and "Candy". Stafford recorded little jazz material during her career. Jo + Jazz
, featuring Johnny Hodges, is her most notable forary into the jazz realm. But she did cut some jazzy sides with Capitol. Two of them "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home" and "For You" included in this collection. One thing these comprehensive compilations remind us of is that not every song put to wax by famous singers was always first class material, viz. "Little Man with the Candy Cigar", her first recording as a single. But fortunately the play list here is dominated by songs destined to be dubbed classic standards. The sound is acceptable. This is a real buy and is recommended.
Personnel: Jo Stafford - Vocals; Paul Weston - Conductor; Johnny Mercer#, Pied Pipers - Vocals