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Liltin' Martha Tilton: And The Angels Sing - A Centenary Tribute, Her 24 Finest 1937-1955



Retrospective pays a fine centenary tribute to Benny Goodman’s ‘angel’ Martha Tilton with a wonderful cross-section of her finest work.

14th November 2015 marked the actual centenary of Texan songstress Martha Tilton. “The liltin’ Miss Tilton” is best remembered as the glamorous angel who sang in front of the great Benny Goodman band for many of its biggest hits, especially And The Angels Sing. But she was more than just one of the many top female vocalists of the Swing Era; she went on to enjoy a successful solo career into the 50s that brought her half a dozen Top Ten hits and a cult following that never deserted her.

And The Angel Sings is Retrospective’s tribute. The first 9 tracks are the most popular of the many she made with Benny Goodman (I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart, This Can’t Be Love, What Goes On Here In My Heart? – all “top three” – and the exuberant 6:36-long Bei mir bist du schoen with the Quintet). She also has tracks with Artie Shaw (Now We Know) and Gene Krupa (Drum Boogie from a 1941 film), before 12 solo hits displaying a wide range, from jazz to wistful ballads such as I’ll Walk Alone (a No.4 hit) or How Are Things In Glocca Morra? (No.8). And, giving a Goodman-esque symmetry to the whole programme, Martha closes with You Turned The Tables On Me, which she featured in the 1955 film The Benny Goodman Story. This is now the finest available survey of her work.

Liltin' Martha Tilton: And The Angels Sing - A Centenary Tribute, Her 24 Finest 1937-1955


Martha Tilton was one of the most popular white female vocalists of the Swing Era, and this collection of her material shows why. She’s got a clear tone and yet knows how to make it swing, as well as put a sparkle in the eye. Her term with Benny Goodman’s Orchestra was her apotheosis, and the contrast of her voice with Ziggy Elman’s trumpet on “And The Angels Sing” as well as her lithe delivery with a quintet on “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” is vunderbar. She does some impressive work with Dean Elliott’s Orchestra on “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” and teams up well with Johnny Mercer for a buoyant “A Fine Romance.” Contemporary singers have a lot to learn from this lady! George Harris, Jazz Weekly