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The Best of the War Years and More

Louis Prima & His Orchestra

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Album Review

While it would have been more preferable for Stardust to issue the complete V-Disc sessions of Louis Prima & His Orchestra, this 23-track selection of his recordings between 1944 and 1950 is pretty tight and presented expertly for a decent price. The bands Prima kept during the war years were remarkably consistent in personnel (Leon, Louis' brother, was the other trumpet player in the band), with very few changes. Here are V-disc versions of the band's singles — tough, rowdy, and swinging versions of "Robin Hood," "Just a Gigolo," "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine," "Angelina," "Felecia No Capecia," and "A Sunday Kind of Love" are juxtaposed against racier tunes such as "Please No Squeeza da Banana" and flat-out jump tracks like "Brooklyn Boogie." In addition to the early band tracks, Stardust has included the first performances with vocalists Lily Ann Carol from 1946 and Keely Smith from 1950. The version of "Buona Sera" that closes the set is easily the most beautiful version Prima ever recorded. No doubt most Prima fans already have this material, but for those just getting on the bandwagon, this is a great introduction to his music outside the Capitol period.

The Best of the War Years and More, Louis Prima & His Orchestra
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