- Album name: The George & Ira Gershwin Songbook / Ella’s legendary performance of 30 of George and Ira Gershwin’s greatest songs, arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle.
- Artist name: Ella Fitzgerald
- Year: 1976
- Number of discs: two
- Label: Verve Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics:
- Scratched into side one of LP: S VE-2-2525-AS-CS 1
- Scratched into side two of LP: S VE-2-2525-BS-CS
- Scratched into side three of LP: S VE-2-2525-CS-CS
- Scratched into side four of LP: S VE-2-2525-DS-CS
- Buy it on Ebay: $11.99
Level of familiarity before listening
I’ve never listened to this record before, but a few weeks ago I reviewed another that appears to have been from the same Verve Records collection, The Rodgers and Hart Songbook by Ella Fitzgerald.
I have also heard of both George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, but until now I did not realize that they were different people!
Here are all four of the Ella Fitzgerald records that I’ve reviewed:
- Ella & Louis (1972): 4/5
- The Rodgers and Hart Songbook (1977): 3/5
- Billie Ella Lena Sarah (1980): 2/5
- “A Classy Pair”: Ella Fitzgerald Sings / Count Basie Plays / With the Count Basie Orchestra (1982): 4/5
What I expected
My chief complaint about the double-LP Rodgers and Hart Songbook was that it was way too long, and that I would have liked it better as a single LP. This one is also a double LP, but maybe I’ll enjoy the songs so much that the length will make sense.
What it was actually like
I did not like this one very much. Like the previous collection, this was too long as a double LP and would have been far better as a single LP.
The backing band made a pretty rich, deep orchestral sound – more like big band music – that I found to be excessive and in almost constant competition with the vocals. Of course, some accompaniment was necessary, but whose picture was on the front of the album, anyway?
I was also surprised at how little I recognized: just two songs. The first was I Got Rhythm, and the second was Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off. The latter, in fact, was so famous that I knew its name even before she got to that lyric.
2/5: weak, but I was able to listen to the whole thing