20th Century Masters: The Best of the Andrews Sisters (Millennium Collection) Import
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The oft-touted critical notion that pop music revivals are usually spawned by reactionary nostalgia founders miserably when trying to explain swing music's resurgence, a renaissance seen over by latter-day hipsters born three decades after the music's supposed demise. A better explanation can be found on this 12-track Andrews Sisters sampler: vibrant, sassy music that's influenced artists from Bette Midler to the Manhattan Transfer and beyond. Starting as purveyors of typically serene ballads in the late '30s, the Andrews' tight harmonies virtually became the nation's soundtrack during the war years when wed to swing (the era-defining "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy") and even influences as seemingly far afield as blues ("Shoo-Shoo Baby") and calypso ("Rum and Coca-Cola"). Culled mostly from their stellar '40s prime, this collection serves as a great introduction to a stellar career--and a fine rationale for swing's unexpected modern blossoming. --Jerry McCulley
Since the product description doesn't list every song, I'll list them here:
1. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
2. Hold Tight (Want Some Sea Food Mama)
3. Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar
4. I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time
5. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
6. Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)
7. Shoo-Shoo Baby
8. Rum and Coca Cola
9. Near You
10. I Wanna Be Loved
11. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive
12. I Can Dream, Can't I?
Some of these songs were recorded by other singers and groups, but in most cases, my favorite version is by the Andrews Sisters.
Originally from Minnesota, like many others the sisters (born between 1911 and 1918) began their career in immitation of the Boswell Sisters, a 1930s vocal trio. Over time they developed their own distinctive sound, with youngest sister Patty usually on lead vocal with Maxene and LaVerne tightly weaving their voices around hers. It was a perfect combination for the emerging "swing" sound of big dance bands--and in 1937 the sisters had the good fortune to be coaxed into recording a swing version of the Yiddish "Bei Mir Bistu Shein." The record was a massive hit and became the first gold record awarded to a female singing group. The Andrews Sisters were suddenly famous, and when the United States entered World War II their unabashed patriotism made them even more so.
The act faced a number of troubles over the years, not the least of which was what some have described as a general personality clash between Patty and Maxene that intensified with the passage of time. In the early 1950s Patty, who the public generally regarded as the "star singer" of the three, angered both Maxene and LaVern when she sued their parents' estate and broke up the act by signing a series of solo record deals. Although Patty had a fair success as a solo artist, and although Maxene and LaVerne had significant success as a duo, it soon became very apparent that the public preferred them as a trio. They reunited in 1956 and continued to perform and record with considerable success until LaVerne's death in 1967. Thereafter Patty and Maxene became increasingly incompatible, and although they had a Broadway success with OVER HERE, Patty's lawsuit against producers brought the show to an early and grinding halt. They would meet on at least two other occasions, but by and large the estrangement was complete. Although both pursued solo careers, "star singer" Patty had only minor success and gradually faded from the musical scene; Maxene, however, was a highly regarded nightclub, cabaret, and theatre performer until her death in 1995. Although reportedly distraught, Patty did not attend the funeral.
During the course of their career as a trio, The Andrews Sisters set a host of records that have remained unsurpassed to this day. They are the single best-selling female vocal group in recording history, charted 113 times (more times than Presley or The Beatles), appeared in seventeen films (more than any other singing group), and broke attendance records at virtually every venue they played. Although firm figures are hard to come by, it seems likely that they hold the record for live radio performances, and the same may be true of live television performances. And yet, for reasons that have never been entirely clear, about half of their Decca recordings (now owned by MCA) have never been re-released and have not been available since their original release. This may be due to the fact that the Andrews Sisters frequently recorded with the major swing bands of the day and there may be legal issues of ownership. That aside, when the Andrews Sisters sang with a major-name big band, they tended to reduce the band to back-up, a fact such bandleaders as Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw most emphatically did not like. As such, you rarely find Andrews Sisters vocals included in compilations of the big band sound.
Whatever the case, the simple fact is that virtually every Andrews Sisters collection includes more or less the same songs over and over again: "Bei Mir Bist du Schon," "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree," "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Hold Tight," and the single best-selling recording of the World War II era, "Rum and Coca-Cola." Although double-disks offer a wider array, single disk 20th Century Masters Millennium Collection is pretty standard in content. In my experience the 20th Century Masters series is not notable for sound quality; even so, it seems to have done reasonably well by The Andrews Sisters. Granted, the recordings could use a remaster; there is a slight muddiness to several selections, a slightly sharp quality on others. All the same, the result is reasonable. A serious collector will no doubt find both collection and sound quality commonplace, but it is an extremely good place to begin. If you're mildly interested and looking for an inexpensive introduction, you're unlikely to do better--and you could do a whole lot worse.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
Almost 100% favorite music on this CD.
Man, were they ever great!
I'm a Boomer, who grew up with swing music (mostly James, Goodman, etc.), but never really paid much attention to the "girl singers", especially the trios.I did listen to Clooney, Stafford & sometimes, Lena. Whoo hoo, the voices! Sheer talent!
But these women also could really entertain.
They could teach todays' youngsters a thing or ten,hey.....
If you love swing, well, this CD is pretty darned great.Worth the price!