Walter Donaldson: My Blue Heaven, His 52 Finest

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There is some fascinating jazz stuff here, not least in the personnel. Fans of early jazz, for example, will be pleased to see Changes, by the Paul Whiteman orchestra, a recording which included Bix, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Matty Malneck, to say nothing of Bing Crosby and The Rhythm Boys. Other illustrious jazz names among the performers here include Muggsy Spanier, Ethel Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Mercer, Dick Haymes, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Lunceford, The Boswell Sisters, Ted Weems, Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grapelli, Lionel Hampton and Billie Holiday.

There are other names, especially on CD1 that I, as something of a scholar of the songbook genre, had heard of but not actually heard: Ted Lewis, Gene Austen, Abe Lyman, Nora Bayes – so that was a revelation. It’s a fairly safe assumption that at least a dozen people reading this recall watching Doris Day as Ruth Etting in the bio-pic Love Me Or Leave Me in 1955 and here they can find the real Ruth Etting on five tracks including Love Me Or Leave Me.

Labels like Retrospective are performing a real service in making yesterday available both today and tomorrow. It’s not perhaps for everyone, but this album will be treasured by the cognoscenti.

Discography
CD1: [1918-1931] My Blue Heaven; How Ya Gonna Keep ’Em Down On The Farm; My Buddy; Carolina In The Morning; My Best Girl; Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby;I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight?; That Certain Party; What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry; But I Do, You Know I Do; Where’d You Get Those Eyes; It Made You Happy When You Made Me Cry; There Ain’t No “Maybe” In My Baby’s Eyes; I’ve Grown So Lonesome Thinking Of You; At Sundown; Sam, The Old Accordion Man; Changes; Because My Baby Don’t Mean Maybe Now; Just Like A Melody Out Of The Sky; Out Of The Dawn; Love Me Or Leave Me; Makin’ Whoopee!; My Baby Just Cares For Me; Little White Lies; Without That Man; You’re Driving Me Crazy (78.10)
CD2: [1931-1962] My Blue Heaven; That’s What I Like About You; An Evening In Caroline; You’ve Got Everything; Sleepy Head; Riptide; Clouds; I’ve Had My Moments; It’s Been So Long; You; Did I Remember; Cuckoo In The Clock; At Sundown; My Buddy; Mister Meadowlark; My Heart And I Decided; My Mammy; Little White Lies; The Daughter Of Rosie O’Grady; Love Me Or Leave Me; What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry?; ‘Tain’t No Sin (To Take Off Your Skin And Dance Around In Your Bones); My Baby Just Cares For Me; You’re Driving Me Crazy; My Little Bimbo Down On The Bamboo Isle; My Blue Heaven. (77.32)

Various artists – see review for selected jazz performers.
Retrospective RTS 4364