Pin-Up Girl [2-CD]

by: Betty Grable

This 48-track, two-hour-and-seven-minute double-CD set presents soundtrack recordings from 19 films featuring Betty Grable that were released between 1930 (when she was 13) and 1945. Grable didn't really become a major star until her appearance in Down Argentine Way in 1940, and that film and its successors over the next five years take up 42 of the performances here. Grable was an adequate singer (that she did not have a parallel career as a recording artist has more to do with studio discouragement than talent), and her film vehicles contained songs by such Hollywood professionals as the teams of Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, and Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin, though she also gets the chance to sing the works of Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn, and Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, among others, here and there. She also sang a few established standards, such as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "Carolina In the Morning," though she introduced very few, notably "The More I See You," with Dick Haymes, and "I Can't Begin to Tell You," the only song she recorded for a hit, with her husband Harry James (not the version heard here). This album is thorough, well-programmed, and well-annotated. The only complaints about it can be the limited sound quality on the early tracks and the cut-off: Grable made movies for another ten years after The Dolly Sisters, the last music heard on this album. (Particularly missed are the Gershwin songs from 1947's The Shocking Miss Pilgrim.) ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

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