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Goodbye, Blues (Remastered)

The Mills Brothers

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Album Review

The closest of the close harmony groups, the Mills Brothers (John Jr., Herbert, Harry, and Donald) gained a million-seller with their very first release, 1932's "Tiger Rag"/"Nobody's Sweetheart," and ended up captivating the world for over three decades of hits and a performing career that lasted an additional 30 years. Living Era's two-disc collection of their work not only includes more tracks than any other career-spanning set, but also dwells lovingly on their artistic peak of the mid-'30s — 36 of the 54 tracks date from that decade. (Even the exhaustive five-disc set The 1930's Recordings wastes precious energy, for non-collectors at least, on the archive of alternate takes of the same song.) Of course, every one of their biggest hits is present, as well as examples of their best collaborative work — harmonizing along with fellow Decca stars Bing Crosby on "Dinah," Duke Ellington on "Diga Diga Doo," Ella Fitzgerald on "Dedicated to You," and Louis Armstrong on "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny." There are very few rarities in evidence — just "Two Blocks Turn Left" (an earlier hit for Cab Calloway) and the ballad "There's No One But You" — but fans of the Mills Brothers' harmonic genius and clever instrumental interpolation will find over 50 examples of their best work.

Biography

Formed: 1924 in Piqua, OH

Genre: Jazz

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

An astonishing vocal group that grew into one of the longest-lasting oldies acts in American popular music, the Mills Brothers quickly moved from novelty wonders to pop successes and continued amazing audiences for decades. Originally billed as "Four Boys and a Guitar," the group's early records came complete with a note assuring listeners that the only musical instrument they were hearing was a guitar. The caution was understandable, since the Mills Brothers were so proficient at re-creating trumpets,...
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