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Annie Get Your Gun

Ethel Merman and Broadway Cast

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Avis sur l’album

Though Irving Berlin came from the old school of Broadway songwriters, he was also highly adaptable. He approached his assignment as substitute for Jerome Kern (who had died suddenly) on Dorothy and Herbert Fields' musical about Annie Oakley in the spirit of integrated musicals that producers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had established with Oklahoma! only three years before. Berlin's songs for Annie Get Your Gun were all about character and plot, from the bawdy "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly" in which Annie affirms the value of a common-sense barnyard education, to the witty "Anything You Can Do," which illuminates her final confrontation and reconciliation with love interest Frank Butler. Ordinarily, that should have meant that the songs were less easy to extract for the hit parade, but in fact Berlin's score produced more chart hits through cover versions than any Broadway score before or since.

Star Ethel Merman and her co-star Ray Middleton were Broadway veterans of the pre-microphone era, experts at projecting their voices from the footlights to the rear balcony, and their stage styles carried over to the cast recording. Merman, of course, possessed a clarion voice that was never better represented than in songs like "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly" and "I Got the Sun in the Morning," while Middleton's sonorous baritone informed "The Girl That I Marry" and "My Defenses Are Down." But even though Berlin wrote simply and directly, the singers hit his meanings as surely as they did his notes. The result was exactly what a cast album should be, an accurate representation of the music of a show. And since this show was a landmark in Broadway history, that made the cast album an important contribution to musical history as well as an aural delight.

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Annie Get Your Gun, Ethel Merman and Broadway Cast
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Note

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