Past Perfect, recent release CD

PPCD78141Elegance 2

this page first published by John Wright, 22 April 2003
last update 2 February 2012

Another special feature CD: Past Perfect PPCD78141

Elegance 2- Continuing A Musical Journey Through the 30s and 40s
(to order, click the image)

title list :-

return to my Past Perfect page


This CD offers another varied selection of music styles from the 1930's and 40's, singers, entertainers and supreme instrumentalists.
For me to review this CD is a more difficult task than the first CD of this set; somehow Past Perfect have produced an even more varied programme in 23 tracks. I must avoid just making a list of the superb recordings yet somehow get across the sheer quality of performance we hear from so many great artistes.
Let me mention first the male entertainers, as the CD starts with one of the most loved - 'Hutch'. His classic performance of Blossoms On Broadway' is further enhanced by the violin playing of Oscar Grasso - what a great start to the CD. Later you hear Hutch again in the beautiful song Do I Love You? (which some listeners may know well from the Anne Lenner recording) and he ends the CD with Kiss Me Goodnight. Also on this CD it is interesting to compare a similar artiste, Turner Layton, in his really charming Thanks For Everything. The men are also represented by those supreme artistes Noel Coward and Fred Astaire. Noel surprises us in his Amercian recording of a medley which includes some rare Coward songs as well as some more familiar. Al Bowlly can also be heard in a classic recording with the Ray Noble HMV band. For some reason I feel that Nat King Cole is misplaced in this compilation but since That's The Beginning Of The End was recorded in 1946 then it is rightfully here. Way ahead of it's time this early trio record will be loved by his fans as we hear the intimate singing style that would bring him fame later.
The ladies are equally well represented on this CD. We have Gertrude Lawrence singing in USA The Saga Of Jenny. New to me, this number from Lady In The Dark did well to compete with Danny Kaye. I was delighted to hear Jessie Matthews (and the 3 Ginks) in Tony's In Town, and Ruth Etting with that great song It's Easy To Remember. This CD continues to surprise with fine performances by Elisabeth Welch and Adelaide Hall; the song As Time Goes By sounds like it was written for Miss Hall. Also pleasing to hear a rare recording by Dorothy Carless who listeners may know as the regular vocalist with Geraldo.
On to the instrumentalists now, and one can only marvel at Freddy Gardner's saxophone playing in Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (though I much prefer listening to his solos on the jazz recordings he made). Virtuosity is also evident in the relaxed playing of another jazz man, violinist Joe Venuti, in Body And Soul, and in the guitar of Django Reinhardt performing his own Nuages. There's a very pleasing Billy Mayerl piano performance from late in his recording career. Les Paul is I think uncomfortably placed on this CD even though Fine And Dandy was recorded in 1945.
The dance bands are well represented on the CD. Ray Noble/Al Bowlly, I've already mentioned, deliver a classic performance, and Sam Browne is equally comfortable with Billy Ternent's band. Maybe a bit early and of an older style (1932) but Ooh That Kiss from Carroll Gibbons and his smaller band, his Boyfriends, displays his supreme piano style.
This CD was a delight to me. Many tracks I had never heard before and all were very enjoyable on first hearing, and even more so on repeated playing. The tracks that I had heard before I have on 78, but to hear them on this Past Perfect CD was to hear them with a new clarity. Hearing instrumental passages I had not 'heard' on the 78's brought a new life to the old standards. Congratulations to Past Perfect and Ted Kendall, and many thanks to Hugh Palmer's booklet notes explaining in great detail the origns of many of the recordings I had not known till now.

John Wright

Past Perfect

digitalised re-issues of dance bands, swing bands, jazz and entertainers
available by Tel: 01869 325052, Fax: 01869 325072,
Check out Past Perfect website or return to my Past Perfect page