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Lena Horne Sings: The M-G-M Singles

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Album Review

During the 1940s, Lena Horne's star had been rising steadily, thanks to knockout performances in a series of M-G-M musicals — Cabin in the Sky, Ziegfeld Follies, Till the Clouds Roll By, and most famously, singing the title song in Stormy Weather (the latter when she was on loan to 20th Century Fox). By the late '40s, M-G-M's corresponding record label was eager to get Horne into the studio, which they finally did during 1947-1948, for the 16 sides that appear on a collection from 2010, Lena Horne Sings: The M-G-M Singles. Unfortunately, most of her best-known performances were recorded in film studios, not record studios — if listeners want to hear "Stormy Weather" or "Honeysuckle Rose" or "Just One of Those Things" or "Ain't It the Truth," they'll have to look for the movie-songs anthology Lena Horne At M-G-M: Ain't It the Truth. But that hardly means that these songs are easily dismissed. In fact, in most cases, these sides — most with small jazz groups, some with strings — have much more of quality than audio recordings of her movie performances. The only big film association comes on the first track, when Horne sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" from Till the Clouds Roll By, which almost makes up for the lack of "Stormy Weather." M-G-M Records was apparently attempting to set her up as a torch-song singer, and with excellent results — "The Man I Love," "'Deed I Do," "Sometimes I'm Happy," "Something to Live For," "Where or When." Horne's interpretive powers have often been subject to her skills as an actress, but from the evidence here, she was the equal of most late-'40s vocalists, who could concentrate only on singing and not worry about Hollywood.


Born: 30 June 1917 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Singer/actress Lena Horne's primary occupation was nightclub entertaining, a profession she pursued successfully around the world for more than 60 years, from the 1930s to the 1990s. In conjunction with her club work, she also maintained a recording career that stretched from 1936 to 2000 and brought her three Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989; she appeared in 16 feature films and several shorts between 1938 and 1978; she performed occasionally on Broadway, including in her...
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Lena Horne Sings: The M-G-M Singles, Lena Horne
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