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Doin What Comes Naturally!

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Album Review

This British compilation, presumably taking advantage of a 50-year copyright limit, presents recordings made by Ethel Merman between 1932 and 1946. Almost all of them are songs she sang in her Broadway musicals, though only the eight selections from Annie Get Your Gun are technically original Broadway cast recordings. Merman was already a stage star when she made her recording debut in 1932, singing Irving Berlin's independent song "How Deep Is the Ocean?," resulting in her first chart hit. She also scored hits with her studio recordings of "Eadie Was a Lady") from Take a Chance (1932), "An Earful of Music" from the film Kid Millions (1933), and "You're the Top" and "I Get a Kick Out of You" from Anything Goes (1934). Decca recorded four songs from Panama Hattie (1940), and three of them, "Let's Be Buddies," "My Mother Would Love You," and "I've Still Got My Health" are here. There were no contemporary studio recordings of DuBarry Was a Lady (1939) or Something for the Boys (1943), so songs from these shows, "Friendship" from DuBarry and "He's a Right Guy" and "Hey, Good Lookin'" from Something, are drawn from radio performances. The Annie Get Your Gun selections, all of Merman's vocals from the cast album, include her hit duet with Ray Middleton on "They Say It's Wonderful." The sound quality is fine (except for the radio tracks), and the rarity of some of these recordings makes this a valuable album. U.S. copyright holders are no doubt dismayed about the release of albums such as this (not to mention their ready availability in this country), but Ethel Merman fans have no reason to complain.


Born: 16 January 1908 in New York, NY [Astoria]

Genre: Vocal

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

Ethel Merman was the leading American musical theater performer of her generation, creating roles in 13 Broadway musicals between 1930 and 1959, and continuing to appear in shows occasionally through 1970. Her clarion voice and exact enunciation were perfect for an era when a stage performer was required to sing loud enough to be heard at the back of the theater without amplification. That made her a favorite of the leading songwriters of the day, and she introduced some of the most memorable songs...
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