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Fred Astaire's Finest Hour

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Album Review

It's obvious from a moment's thought that Fred Astaire's finest hour occurred in the movie studio, not the recording studio. And while Astaire's musical career was fine indeed, his best performances date from the '30s, when "Night and Day" or "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" weren't pop standards but a pair of magical, effervescent songs just unleashed on the public. Fred Astaire's Finest Hour, the Verve collection, consists of recordings from a pair of '50s dates that have been packaged and repackaged many times over the years. Surprisingly, although he suffered from a thinner voice two decades after his prime, Astaire's sense of melodious fluidity had diminished not a whit. The 1952 LP The Astaire Story, which furnished most of the tracks for this compilation, featured a stately swinging band — the JATP backbone of Oscar Peterson, Charlie Shavers, Barney Kessel, and Ray Brown — that fit Astaire's light, airy performances perfectly. They recorded nearly all of Astaire's most famous movie hits, and though his voice had degraded slightly, he also showed he'd learned much since his '30s heyday. Five other tracks date from the 1959 LP Now, which also earns notices for its arrangements (by Marty Paich).

Customer Reviews

The Soft, Superb Touch

A spectacularly attractive bargain: ten bucks for seventeen of the greatest entries in the American Songbook, interpreted by a singular artist. Astaire dancing, of course, is grace personified, rigorous technique made to look suave and easy. Astaire the singer can't match the hoofer's sheer virtuosity, but he offers something different and immensely valuable in itself: a sense of intimacy with his material. And that intimacy leads to intimacy with the listener. Astaire and Oscar Peterson (talk about genius!) go through your pores and right to your heart. Incomparable.

Fred Astaire's Finest Hour

Suberb,almost as is he was in the room.Wonderful songs,great production. A must for Fred Fans

dilute and vapid copies of the original.

I am afraid this collection of re-recorded Astaire classics although inexpensive, left me cold and disappointed.
As a purist, I try to collect those wonderful, original motion picture soundtracks. Unfortumtely, this 1950's re-recorded collection seemed
a rather dilute and vapid curiosity especially when compared to the masterful movie originals.


Genre: Musicals

Dancer, actor, and singer Fred Astaire worked steadily in various entertainment media during nine decades of the 20th century. The most celebrated dancer in the history of film, with appearances in 31 movie musicals between 1933 and 1968 (and a special Academy Award in recognition of his accomplishments in them), Astaire also danced on-stage and on television (garnering two Emmy Awards in the process), and he even treated listening audiences to his accomplished tap dancing on records and on his own...
Full Bio

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