My Heart Belongs to Daddy [ASV/Living Era]

by: Mary Martin

British archival label Living Era chronicles the first 12 years of Mary Martin's recording career in My Heart Belongs to Daddy, named for the song with which the singer made her Broadway debut in Cole Porter's 1938 musical Leave It to Me. Her first recording of that song, made for Brunswick Records within weeks of the show's opening, leads off the disc, which continues largely by presenting a selection of the records she cut for Decca Records between 1940 and 1947, some of them songs she also sang in her film appearances during the period. Martin is better remembered for her stage work than her movies, but while the collection makes room for four tracks borrowed from Columbia Records' original Broadway cast album of South Pacific (1949), in which she starred, it skips over her shows One Touch of Venus (1943) and Lute Song (1946), both of which were recorded by Decca, and nearly ignores the clutch of studio-cast albums she made for Columbia at the start of the 1950s, using only "My Funny Valentine" from Babes in Arms. (For anyone wondering why the album stops at 1950 instead of going on up at least to 1959's The Sound of Music, the answer is simple. Living Era specializes in transfers from old, out-of-copyright 78s, and with the 50-year copyright limit on recordings in Europe, use of any track from later than 1953 would have to have been licensed from the copyright holders.) Thus, the album cannot be considered the ideal "best-of" from Martin's early career. But it does contain performances of some excellent material by such songwriters as Porter, Johnny Mercer, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Lerner & Loewe, and Rodgers & Hammerstein, as well as some hard-to-find tracks. (The transfers result in adequate, but not outstanding sound quality.) ~ William Ruhlmann

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