Ruth Etting - America's Sweetheart of Song: Love Me Or Leave Me - Her 51 Finest 1927-1937
Here is the definitive 2CDset of vintage tracks from one of the greatest stars of the 20s and 30s, Ruth Etting – for years America’s favourite female vocalist.
Ruth Etting (1907-1978) was the queen of the torch singers and one of the most popular of all entertainers during the period of the late 20s and early 30s. Slim, blonde and dramatic, she was known as “America’s Sweetheart of Song”. No fewer than 62 of her recordings were hits. Her remarkable life-story (she was for 15 years married to the notorious gangster “Moe the Gimp”) was depicted in the 1955 biopic Love Me Or Leave Me starring Doris Day (a special bonus track at the end of disc one presents Day’s recording of the title track).
Love Me Or Leave Me is also the title of Retrospective’s generous double album of 51 inimitable Ruth Etting performances. No fewer than 37 of them were the equivalent of “chart” hits, including 13 Top Fives. Among the biggest were the poignant Ten Cents A Dance, her Ziegfeld Follies showstopper Shaking The Blues Away, and the Fred Ahlert songs I’ll Get By, Mean To Me and Life Is A Song. And she is heard giving her inimitable treatment to many of the greatest (‘standards’: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Close Your Eyes, I’ll Never Be The Same. This last is a prime example of her delightful ‘trademark’ of changing tempo half way through a song, as are Crying For The Carolines, Nevertheless and the irresistible It Was So Beautiful.
“This excellent selection has been chosen cannily and Greg Gormick’s notes are fine.” Jonathan Woolf, musicweb-international.com
"One of the most popular singers of the period, Ruth Etting may not have technically been a jazz singer since she did not improvise much, but she brought a jazz sensibility and a highly appealing sound to her interpretations of the pop songs of the era. Her marriage to the gangster Martin “Moe the Gimp” Snyder initially helped her career although his erratic and often-violent behavior resulted in her retirement in 1937, not counting a brief return a decade later. The Retrospective label has reissued 51 of Etting’s finest recordings on the two-CD set Love Me Or Leave Me, about a quarter of her output. Programmed mostly in chronological order, the set does an excellent job of covering the singer’s career. Along with some rarities all her hits are here …The music consistently swings, Ruth Etting’s voice still sounds fresh and enthusiastic, and the performances are a consistent delight." Scott Yanow, Syncopated Times
Affectionately known as “America’s Sweetheart of Song”, Ruth Etting was an enormously popular singer in the 1920’s and 30’s. Born in David City, Nebraska in 1905, she moved to Chicago as a teenager to attend art school. Ruth began working part-time at the Marigold Gardens nightclub and soon became their featured vocalist. She was a natural torch singer, with a sweet soprano singing voice and her own distinctive style. She would often improvise tunes, changing tempos in the middle, with graceful intonation and phrasing. Early in her career she recorded primarily with Columbia, where she was known as the Sweetheart of Columbia Records. Ruth recorded hundreds of songs for various record companies between 1921 and 1958, and had over 60 hit songs. She also performed with Art Kahn’s Dance Band, Paul Whiteman’s King of Jazz Orchestra, and Abe Lyman’s orchestra in Chicago. This two-disc set features 51 of Ruth’s hit songs between 1927 and 1937. She was blessed to work with many talented musicians at the Columbia studios in New York. Among them was Rube Bloom, a marvellous pianist and songwriter who accompanied Ruth on many of her recordings. Rube is joined by accordionist Mario Perry performing with Ruth on the song Sam, The Old Accordion Man, a novelty fox trot with a lively rhythm that fit Ruth’s singing style and range. This is a great selection of tunes from Ruth Etting’s career. A 16-page booklet is included, with notes by Greg Gormick. The music was compiled by Ray Crick. The audio restoration and remastering was performed by Alan Bunting and Martin Haskell, and the sound quality is excellent. David Lennick performed the transfers from the original 78 rpm recordings. Bruce McCollum, Musicweb-international.com