March 24, 2009
Vocal Music, Traditional Pop, Vocal Pop, Vocal Jazz

Album Review

Trawling through the obscurities of most '40s/'50s pop vocalists would be a chore, to say the least, but Jo Stafford was not the average pop vocalist of the WWII era. Although she sounded very trad (and very beautiful) on her biggest hits -- "Long Ago and Far Away," "It Could Happen to You," "You Belong to Me" -- she could switch from beguiling balladry to swing rhythm at the drop of a hat. The Capitol Rarities 1943-1950 is an EMI compilation that includes 24 solid obscurities from her early catalog. Discovered by Johnny Mercer, Stafford began contributing as part of the Pied Pipers and drew fame for her sweet voice as well as her ability to swing precisely in a group context. Her solo material here is pretty interesting, although the half-dozen highlights are far better than the balance. At the top of the heap lie "Jolly Jo," "Pagan Love Song," and "Prisoner of Love's Song." The first is the most radical song in Stafford's catalog, a vocalese adventure led by her friend Dave Lambert (later one-third of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross), the second is a delightful Dixieland romp through an old classic, and the third is a revisitation of the cornpone classic "Temptation (Tim-Tay-Shun)" she waxed with the most hilarious hillbilly accent ever heard on record. Elsewhere, the focus is on movie songs, many of them nearly forgotten.
John Bush, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Out of This World
  2. Conversation While Dancing
  3. Alone Together
  4. Gee, It's Good to Hold You
  5. You May Not Love Me
  6. This Time
  7. Promise
  8. It's as Simple as That
  9. Through a Thousand Dreams
  10. Give Me Something to Dream About
  11. It's Monday Every Day
  12. It Was Written in the Stars
  13. Jolly Jo
  14. If I Ever Love Again
  15. Open Door, Open Arms
  16. Pagan Love Song
  17. Our Very Own
  18. Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend
  19. Prisoner of Love's Song
  20. This Is the Moment
  21. The Stanley Steamer
  22. Candy
  23. Tell Me Why
  24. White Christmas
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