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The Ultimate Collection: Carmen Miranda

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Album Review

After Carmen Miranda opened in her first and only Broadway show, singing "South American Way" in the 1939 revue The Streets of Paris, she was signed to a contract by Decca Records and held her first American recording session, backed by her musical group Bando da Lua, on December 26, 1939. Thus, when she signed to 20th Century-Fox in 1940 and made her way to Hollywood to appear in her first American film, Down Argentine Way, she was already established as a recording artist, unlike fellow Fox performers like Betty Grable and Alice Faye, who did not have recording careers. (Hollywood tended to discourage the competition, if it could.) When Miranda would make a picture for Fox, she would quickly troop over to a Decca studio and cut recordings of the songs from it (this being before the days of the original motion picture soundtrack). She also recorded other material. It is those Decca recordings that this compilation draws from, albeit without saying so. European copyright law on recordings extends only 50 years, so the tracks are in the public domain and prey to budget reissue labels like Prism Leisure to press up and sell. Relying on the Decca recordings, the album is incomplete as a collection of Miranda's best-known film songs, however. When she made The Gang's All Here, for example, there was a recording ban that prevented her from cutting "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat." Still, many of her familiar numbers are included, plus some excellent Brazilian material and performances with the Andrews Sisters. And though most of the collection is drawn from Decca recordings made between 1939 and 1950, the last four tracks, made between 1931 and 1938, give a sense of the music she recorded back in Brazil for RCA Victor before coming to America.


Born: 09 February 1909 in Lisbon, Portugal

Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

The first Brazilian performer to attain international stardom, singer and actress Carmen Miranda was born Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha on February 9, 1909 in Marco de Canavezes, Portugal, but she was raised in Rio de Janeiro from infancy onward. After quitting school, she began working at an area shop, where her habit of singing on the job brought her to the attention of a local radio station. Seemingly overnight, Miranda emerged as one of the top attractions on the Rio club circuit, and upon...
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The Ultimate Collection: Carmen Miranda, Carmen Miranda
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