by: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe's limited musical output gets recycled once again, but Anthology pads out the usual tunes with some tempting extras and packages it all nicely. The first disc uses most of the material from Stardust's earlier The Very Best of Marilyn Monroe and contains songs directly from her films, although the liner notes don't bother to point out what's from what. Recording dates, conductors, and orchestras are credited, however, showing more effort on the part of Stardust than most Monroe compilers. The performances are fun to hear; the singer coos her way through her signature "Diamond's Are a Girl's Best Friend," and a couple of duets with Jane Russell are sexy camp of the highest order. The sound quality varies from good to fair and only gets disruptive when tape folds and scratches occasionally turn up. Where Anthology stands apart is the second disc's collection of commercials and radio appearances. Full half-hour episodes of Monroe guesting on The Edgar Bergen Show and The Martin and Lewis Show are included. Monroe's famous sultry performance at John F. Kennedy's 1962 Madison Square Garden birthday party and a commercial where she sings the praises of "pretty undies" fill out the disc. There are more than 140 minutes of Monroe here plus a large booklet of photographs and essays. With its hard-shell case, Anthology is, at the very least, the Monroe compilation that makes the best-looking gift. ~ David Jeffries

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