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The 1930's Recordings - Chronological, Vol. 5

The Mills Brothers

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Album Review

The Mills Brothers recorded most of their popular material — and all of their most innovative sides — during the 1930s, making this five-disc JSP collection a treasure trove for fans of tight harmony vocal music. It may not be the right choice, however, for anyone but the most vigilant of listeners, since the group often recorded multiple versions of their songs and this set includes every single take of every single song (usually presented one after another). The range of songs is wonderful, taking in plenty of choices from the Great American Songbook ("I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "Miss Otis Regrets," "Lulu's Back in Town," "The Song Is Ended" ) as well as many blues and jazz covers ("Caravan," "Rockin' Chair," "Tiger Rag," "St. Louis Blues"). And once the Mills Brothers began using added accompaniment, they worked with some of the best — Duke Ellington, Don Redman, and Louis Armstrong, among others. [The 1930's Recordings are also available on separate discs, from the JSP and Nostalgia labels, issued as The Chronological, Vol. 1 (and so forth).]

Biography

Formed: 1924 in Piqua, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

An astonishing vocal group that grew into one of the longest-lasting oldies acts in American popular music, the Mills Brothers quickly moved from novelty wonders to pop successes and continued amazing audiences for decades. Originally billed as "Four Boys and a Guitar," the group's early records came complete with a note assuring listeners that the only musical instrument they were hearing was a guitar. The caution was understandable, since the Mills Brothers were so proficient at re-creating trumpets,...
Full bio