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Marlene Dietrich: Love Songs

Jim Santella By

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Defining cabaret for generations to come, Marlene Dietrich recorded these songs between 1930 and 1959. As an established actress, she brought her charming way with a song to the big screen as modern cinema's first sex symbol. From film, she moved on to cabaret, never losing the unique earthy quality in her voice.

The compilation begins with three songs recorded in 1930-31 in Berlin. Her character was decidedly different in those earlier days. Lighter and buoyant, she offered a lyric that emphasized her upper registers. With studio orchestra accompaniments that recall the special quality of "Rhapsody in Blue," she expressed to the world her special feel for passion. It was in 1930 that she had appeared in The Blue Angel as the vamp Lola.

By the 1950s her voice had dropped somewhat in a looser approach, and she took on the caricature for which we remember her best. Bass clarinet and trombone blended best with the lower vocal registers that she came to monopolize. Spoken word became a permanent part of her act.

All of the selections chosen for this compilation surge with Dietrich's unique blend of expressed emotion. She experienced pitch problems with her delivery, and her passionate appeals were not always convincing. Yet she was always surrounded by the best in studio orchestras.

"A Guy Who Takes His Time" features superb big band accompaniment, including baritone and tenor saxophonists who provide much-needed relief. While she's entirely out of place on "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads," her interpretation of "La Vie en Rose" fits her persona. Singing in French and speaking coolly, as if she's sitting next to you on the sofa, Dietrich offers a charming interpretation. Unfortunately, she lets the song's final note slip from her grasp. Her mistakes with pitch hamper an otherwise entertaining adventure.


Track Listing: Falling in Love Again; Peter, Peter, Komm Zu Mir Zurueck; Jonny; Love Me; Come Rain or Come Shine; A Guy Who Takes His Time; Baubles, Bangles, and Beads; La Vie en Rose; No Love. No Nothin'; Something I Dreamed Last Night; One for my Baby; Lili Marlene; Taking a Chance on Love; Let's Call it a Day.

Personnel: Marlene Dietrich- vocals; others.

Title: Love Songs | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sony BMG Legacy

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