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The Very Best of the Dinning Sisters

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Album Review

Compiled from the Capitol archives, The Best of the Dinning Sisters wraps up the ten-year career of the most popular vocal act in Chicago during the '40s. Reminiscent of the other "sisters" groups (the Andrews Sisters, the Boswell Sisters), the Dinning Sisters had warm, bright harmonies that were just as smooth as their contemporaries. The group shifted easily from bold hip-shakers like "Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia" to silky croons like "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance" and the superb "The Way You Look Tonight."

This 1998 collection is almost neatly divided into four segments: straightforward vocal pop from 1943, large orchestra pieces and collaborations with male vocalists from 1945-1946, a 1947 country & western period, and jazzier 1951 recordings that combine all of their earlier interests. Each of the sisters' sessions has its share of both outstanding numbers and low points, with the good far outweighing the so-so. The grinningly bright "Love on a Greyhound Bus" makes a cross-country trip on a bus sound like gee-whiz fun, and their sleepy versions of "The Way You Look Tonight" and "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance" manage to sound sultry and innocent simultaneously. Highlighting the album is the group's biggest hit "Buttons and Bows," a smart and bouncy tune that showcases perfectly their understated vocal style and deserves a place on any vocal pop collection. Overall, The Best of the Dinning Sisters stands strong as an excellent example of 1940s vocal pop, and proves that the Dinning Sisters should be recognized as one of the top acts of their particular genre.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s

A bright and harmonious vocal group in the tradition of the Boswell Sisters and the Andrews Sisters, the Dinning Sisters worked in the Midwest in the '40s and early '50s. The Dinnings were a musical family of nine children, all of whom started singing harmony in church, and then spent their Sunday afternoons singing for fun. Three of the sisters, twins Jean and Ginger and sister Lou, started to win amateur singing contests before the age of ten, and later began to perform with older brother Ace's...
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