Jul 23, 2009

Ella Fitzgerald

I don’t think Ella was ever a great beauty, as Eartha Kitt and Lena Horne were, but she always had a beautiful voice. Here we have a selection from her Songbook series. This is made up of 16 CDs that, as LPs, were issued in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The albums were selections from what is termed The Great American Songbook.

The Great American Songbook isn’t really a formal collection of songs. It’s composed of the popular music from about 1920 to 1960 and features the music of Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, and others. For additional information see the Wikipedia article.

This CD selects ballads, or slow love songs, from Gershwin and other composers. One reviewer on Amazon felt this was a bad thing. The rest did not pay it too much attention. As an English lit person I suppose I should mention that the ballad form that we learned about in our introductory lit classes is alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and trimeter rhyming a b c b. The musical ballad, however, at least as the term applies to popular music, does not necessarily follow that rule.

Memorable songs on this CD include Lady be Good, I’m Old Fashioned, and How Long Has This Been Going On. If you’re feeling rich, or have a rich relative who really likes you, put the complete songbooks, $280, on your Amazon wishlist. You can also buy the individual albums.