The Second Disc

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The Lady and Her Music: “The Essential Lena Horne” Coming in August

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Thanks to our friends at MusicTAP for the tip that, on August 24, Legacy will celebrate the life of a great lady of song with its release of The Essential Lena Horne: The RCA Years. Like The Essential Henry Mancini (scheduled to be released on the same day), this release is far from definitive, but appears to be a solid introduction to one period of the late Horne’s magnificent career. That career saw the artist rising from her nightclub roots to break racial barriers in Hollywood, becoming one of America’s first African-American stars. Horne made her mark in the political arena, the concert hall and the Broadway stage, as well as on record. She picked up eight Grammy Awards along the way, not to mention a Drama Desk, a Tony and an NAACP Image Award.

The Essential Lena Horne appears to span from some of Horne’s very first recordings in December 1941 through her 1975 album recorded with composer Michel Legrand, Lena and Michel. RCA was her primary recording home from the 1940s through the early 1960s, and she would return to the company from 1970 to 1976.  In between, she had stints at MGM (see Hip-o Select’s excellent overview as reported here), Charter, 20th Century Records, and United Artists Records, the latter of which saw her being refashioned as a Dionne Warwick-styled adult pop diva. Only two tracks on The Essential date past 1963, however, so this isn’t the place to find Lena’s cover recordings of “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Rocky Raccoon,” “Your Song” or “Bein’ Green.” (A compilation for another day, perhaps?)  Nor are Horne’s starmaking performances for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals here, as they have been released by Rhino/Turner Movie Music. What remains, though, is still the backbone of Horne’s recorded output, with stylish readings of standards by Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Duke Ellington and Harold Arlen, among others.

Unlike Legacy’s upcoming Mancini compilation, many of the tracks here can be are difficult to find, with few of Horne’s actual RCA LPs in print on CD, making this a welcome release for collectors. The Essential Lena Horne: The RCA Years is a 2-CD set with 38 tracks.  Pre-order here, and click on the jump for the track listing with select discographical information.

The Essential Lena Horne: The RCA Years (Sony Legacy, 2010)

Disc One

  1. Stormy Weather (1941 Version)
  2. Good for Nothin’ Joe
  3. I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues
  4. Where or When
  5. How Long Has This Been Going On?
  6. One for My Baby
  7. What is This Thing Called Love?
  8. Love Me or Leave Me
  9. Let Me Love You
  10. Mad About the Boy
  11. From This Moment On
  12. Love is the Thing
  13. If You Can Dream
  14. It’s Love/Summertime
  15. New-Fangled Tango
  16. That Old Feeling
  17. Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home
  18. Mood Indigo/I’m Beginning to See the Light
  19. Cole Porter Medley: How’s Your Romance?/After You/Love of My Life/It’s All Right with Me

Disc Two

  1. Just One of Those Things
  2. Honeysuckle Rose
  3. Ain’t It De Truth
  4. Love
  5. Someone to Watch Over Me
  6. Push De Button
  7. Speak Low
  8. The Rules of the Road
  9. You Don’t Have to Know the Language
  10. Napoleon
  11. At Long Last Love
  12. I Concentrate on You
  13. Take It Slow, Joe
  14. Jule Styne Medley: A Ride on a Rainbow/Never Never Land/I Said No/Some People
  15. I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart
  16. The Man I Love
  17. Watch What Happens
  18. I Will Wait for You
  19. Stormy Weather (1957 Version)

Disc 1, Track 1 recorded 12/15/41 from Victor “Musical Smart Set” Moanin’ Low
Disc 1, Track 2 recorded with Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra, 1941
Disc 1, Track 3 recorded 1941
Disc 1, Tracks 4 and 7 recorded 12/15/41
Disc 1, Track 5 recording information unavailable at present
Disc 1, Track 6 recorded 11/21/44
Disc 1, Track 8 from RCA Victor single 47-6431, 1955
Disc 1, Tracks 9, 11, 15, 18, 19 and Disc 2, Track 2 from RCA Victor LP LOC-1028 Live at the Waldorf Astoria, 1957
Disc 1, Track 12 from RCA Victor LP 1148 It’s Love, 1955
Disc 1, Track 13 from RCA Victor single 47-6431, 1956
Disc 1, Track 14 from RCA Victor LP 1148 It’s Love, 1955/RCA Victor LP 1375 Stormy Weather, 1957
Disc 1, Track 16 from RCA Victor EP 9612, 1958
Disc 1, Tracks 10 and 17 and Disc 2, Tracks 1 and 19 from RCA Victor LP 1375 Stormy Weather, 1957
Disc 2, Track 3 from RCA Victor LP LOC-1036 Jamaica: Original Broadway Cast Recording, 1957 or RCA Victor single 47-7037, 1957
Disc 2, Tracks 4, 7 and 11 from RCA Victor LP 1879 Give the Lady What She Wants, 1958
Disc 2, Tracks 5 and 8 from RCA Victor LP 2465 On the Blue Side, 1962
Disc 2, Tracks 6, 10 and 13 from RCA Victor LP LOC-1036 Jamaica: Original Broadway Cast Recording, 1957
Disc 2, Track 9 from RCA Victor LP 1895 Songs by Burke and Van Heusen, 1960
Disc 2, Tracks 12 and 15 from RCA Victor LP 2587 Lovely and Alive, 1963
Disc 2, Tracks 14 and 16 from RCA Victor LP 2364 Live at the Sands, 1961
Disc 2, Track 17 from Skye LP SK15 Lena and Gabor, 1969
Disc 2, Track 18 from RCA LP Lena and Michel, 1975

Written by Joe Marchese

July 27, 2010 at 07:55

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  1. […] Second Disc last reported on Barry Manilow, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Henry Mancini and Lena Horne joining the ranks of those anthologized in The Essential series, with Horne’s entry boasting some […]


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