Ella Fitzgerald/Nelson Riddle: Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson

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Surely all the superlatives due to Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson haver been spent. They still apply – fantastic, tremendous, terrific, fabulous and so on, but Poll Winners have added some news in the shape of bonus tracks. The original vinyl album came with 12 tracks, more or less conventional in 1961, but in fact 19 tracks were recorded with seven being withheld and those seven are included here together with two more, again recorded but not used, in the previous Fitzgerald-Riddle collaboration, the Gershwin Songbook from 1959.

These last two bonus tracks make a good place to start because arguably they would not have found a place in the Songbook album anyway. The actual title of the five-album boxed set was Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George & Ira Gershwin Songbook, which is, alas, ambiguous, because although we know it refers only to the songs the brothers wrote as a team the fact remains that both George and Ira did write with other people. The two songs allegedly – but in my opinion erroneously – omitted from the Songbook album are “Somebody Loves Me”, which George wrote with Buddy DaSylva, and “Cheerful Little Earful” which Ira wrote with Harry Warren and Billy Rose in 1930, the year both Girl Crazy and Strike Up The Band, both with words and music by les frères Gershwin, opened on Broadway.

Both titles are well up to snuff although I doubt whether Harry Warren or Ira Gershwin would place “Cheerful Little Earful” in the top half of their respective CVs. Of the other bonus tracks the Burke-Van Heusen “Darn That Dream” is particularly fetching; it’s an engaging number that isn’t heard nearly as much as it should be and it really enhances what is already a fine album.

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Discography
When Your Lover Has Gone; Don’t Be That Way; Love Me or Leave Me; I Hear Music; What Am I Here For?; I’m Gonna Go Fishin’; I Won’t Dance; I Only Have Eyes for You; The Gentleman Is a Dope; Mean to Me; Alone Together; Pick Yourself Up; Darn That Dream; Georgia on My Mind; I Can’t Get Started; It’s a Pity to Say Goodnight; Call Me Darling (long take); Call Me Darling (short take); All of Me; Somebody Loves Me; Cheerful Little Earful (83.09)
Fitzgerald (v) with orchestra conducted and arranged by Nelson Riddle. Los Angeles, Nov/Dec 1961.
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