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The Best Of Kate Smith

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Album Review

On November 2, 1963, at the age of 56, Kate Smith appeared at Carnegie Hall, and the concert was taped by RCA Victor Records, which signed her to a contract — her first with a major record label in years. The result was the quickly released as Kate Smith at Carnegie Hall. The album spent several months in the charts, and Smith continued to record for RCA for five years, charting with another four albums. This compilation is drawn from Smith's '60s recordings for RCA, beginning with a rendition of her radio theme song "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain," and concluding with her signature song "God Bless America," both taken from the Carnegie Hall show and featuring an orchestra conducted by Skitch Henderson. In between, one hears selections from some of Smith's other RCA albums: "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" from the 1964 album The Sweetest Sounds, arranged and conducted by Peter Matz; "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" from A Touch of Magic, Smith's second 1964 studio recording arranged and conducted by Matz; the 1965 gospel album How Great Thou Art, arranged and conducted by Glenn Osser, and represented by the title song; the medley of "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place," "That Old Feeling," and "There Goes That Song Again," one of the eight medleys from Smith's old radio show that made up 1966's The Kate Smith Anniversary Album, arranged and conducted by Matz; "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" from Kate Smith Today, a 1966 album of then-recent songs also handled by Matz; "That's Life" and "Theme from the Sand Pebbles (And We Were Lovers)" from the similar 1967 follow-up Kate Smith Here and Now, arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman; and "Born Free" from another 1967 album Something Special: Kate Smith, under the baton of Glenn Osser. These mostly contemporary selections allow Smith ample opportunity to display her clarion voice. Longtime fans may question whether the album's title should have been hedged somewhat — "The Best of Kate Smith on RCA in the 1960s" is more like it — but the sympathetic arrangements and intelligently chosen songs highlight the singer well.


Born: May 01, 1907 in Greenville, VA

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

The "Songbird of the South," vocalist Kate Smith was one of the most popular stars of the pre-World War II era; she remains best remembered for her definitive version of the patriotic anthem "God Bless America," which became a hit on no less than three separate occasions. Born Kathryn Elizabeth Smith in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 1907, she initially trained to be a nurse but began singing professionally during the early 1920s, soon relocating to New York to pursue roles in vaudeville and on Broadway,...
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