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Let's Misbehave! A Cole Porter Collection 1927-1940

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Album Review

This album of vintage recordings of Cole Porter songs mixes eight of Porter's own performances of his compositions with renditions that were hits when the songs were new. The basic selection criterion is revealed in the album's title; there is an emphasis placed here on Porter's more risqué and provocative numbers. Songs like "Let's Misbehave" (in a version by Irving Aaronson & His Commanders that was the equivalent of a Top Ten hit in 1928) and "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)" (even in this prim rendering by Rudy Vallée) leave nothing to the imagination, of course. "Love for Sale" (by Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians) is clearly about prostitution, "Miss Otis Regrets" (by Ethel Waters) is a tale of jealousy and murder, and "Find Me a Primitive Man" (by Lee Wiley) is about the attraction of animal lust. In comparison, the witty double entendres of "The Physician" (sung by Porter) and "You've Got That Thing" (a hit for Leo Reisman & His Orchestra) may seem tame, but they were suggestive, too. Generally, Porter's performances are of relatively obscure tunes, but he also gives listeners his versions of the standards "Anything Goes" and "You're the Top." The album cover claims the collection features original cast recordings, which is not true, although Ethel Merman is heard singing "Down in the Depths (On the 90th Floor)," a song she sang in Red, Hot and Blue! This is a well-organized selection of Porter material, especially notable for containing so many recordings by the songwriter himself, even if it is not a comprehensive survey of his career.


Born: 09 June 1891 in Peru, IN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Many arguments could be generated over whether Cole Porter or Irving Berlin should be considered America's greatest tunesmith. Both wrote music and lyrics; it's clearly a pick 'em situation. Porter had violin and piano lessons as a child, pursued undergraduate studies at Yale (where he penned fight songs that endure to this day such as "Bulldog"), and studied law and music at Harvard, all courtesy of a rich grandfather. His grandfather was appalled Porter would consider music as a career and never...
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Let's Misbehave! A Cole Porter Collection 1927-1940, Cole Porter
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