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An Evening With Dorothy Fields

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Album Review

The lag of 26 years between this performance by lyricist Dorothy Fields at the Lyrics & Lyricists series at the 92 Street YMHA in New York and its release on record is practically criminal. Fields had a remarkable career, from her early hits like "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" in the late 1920s to the Broadway musical Seesaw in 1973 (a year after this performance was given), and she was a little less than two years from her death when she took the stage at the YMHA, accompanied by pianist Richard Leonard, and augmented by singers Bobbi Baird, Adrienne Angel, John Peck, and Bob Gorman. Though far from a professional singer herself, she held her own on songs for which her range was suited. As she warned early on, the 79-minute set was long on songs (35 of them, some treated only briefly) and short on analysis. She told the story of her career in affectionate anecdotes, favorably mentioning all 12 of her composer-collaborators without, for example, ever explaining why she switched from Jimmy McHugh to Jerome Kern in the '30s. The Broadway and Hollywood lore was punctuated with her remarkable body of work — "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "(This Is) A Fine Romance," and "The Way You Look Tonight," among many others. Her final collaborator, Cy Coleman, came up for a series of songs from Sweet Charity, including "(Hey) Big Spender" and "If They Could See Me Now," as well as what would turn out to be a cut song from Seesaw, "If There Were More People Like You." Fields' catalog is so rich that she was forced to shoehorn favorites like "I Won't Dance" and "I'm in the Mood for Love" into a set-closing medley; too bad the performance wasn't twice as long.

Customer Reviews

I Love This Album!

It is indeed criminal that there was a lag of 26 years from the recording in 1973 to the release in 1998 of this album… and equally criminal that I was unaware of it until a few days ago in Sep 2013… some 40 years after its recording date… wild… anyway, the entree song that got me hooked was "Lovely to Look At" (I had just seen the film Roberta which lead me to this version of Lovely to Look At, which led me to buying the entire album). The performers on this album are topnotch but to hear Ms. Fields in her own words gives the songs much greater depth. Well done!

Biography

Born: July 15, 1905 in Allenhurst, NJ

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Oscar-winning American pop lyricist Dorothy Fields was the first woman to be elected into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in recognition of her long and successful career of hit songs, movie scores, and Broadway scores that spanned the late '20s through the early '70s. She was born on July 15, 1905, in Allenhurst, NJ, and grew up in a show business family: her father was Lew Fields, of the famed vaudevillian team Weber & Fields. Dorothy Fields' most highly regarded collaborative work was that done...
Full Bio

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