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50th Anniversary Collection, Vol. 2

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Album Review

This is a perfect companion to 50th Anniversary Collection, Vol. 1, containing more hits ("Nice Work If You Can Get It" etc.) and even more songs that have been overlooked for 50 years or so — "Rock-A-Bye Baby," "Where Have We Met Before," Louis Jordan's "Is You Is (Or Is You Ain't My Baby)," and "Fugue for Tinhorns" (from Guys and Dolls), all dating from 1938 through 1953. Not all of this is among the trio's very strongest material, although all of it is inventive, and their bouncy, swinging versions of "Rock-A-Bye Baby," "Shortnin' Bread," and "Says My Heart" are each startling evocations of the memories and sound of the Boswell Sisters; the intertwining vocal parts and harmonies are a delight to the ear even 60 years later. The trio is also heard on several songs collaborating with such celebrated bandleaders as Jimmy Dorsey ("Hold Tight"), Skip Martin (a searing "Sing Sing Sing"), and Bob Crosby (a soaring "Begin the Beguine"). The sound is good, with some lingering traces of surface noise, some instances more prominent than others — on the plus side, you can hear the strumming of the guitar on their 1938 "Hold Tight." The notes by Pam Dobois provide some decent background information on the trio's early career.


Formed: 1932 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Pop

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

The Andrews Sisters were the most successful female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century in the U.S. One source lists 113 singles chart entries by the trio between 1938-1951, an average of more than eight per year. They boasted an exuberant, close-harmony style well-suited to cheery novelty songs, and their intricate vocal arrangements and rhythmic ability mirrored the sound of the swing bands that constituted their chief competition in their heyday. But, in a sense, they had no competition....
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