THE PUREST VOICE OF THE SWING ERA…Jo Stafford: The Centenary Hits Collection 1944-59

Unfortunately overlooked today, Jo Stafford had one of the most pure and technically perfect voices of the swing/postwar era. She started out as a Pied Piper with Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra, teaming with some bum named Frank Sinatra before going out on her own, with this delightful 4 cd set being a perfect intro to this sophisticated lady.

The collection has Stafford hitting the ground running on the Capitol level, doing a duet with owner Johnny Mercer for a wonderful “Candy” as well as teaming up with Paul Weston’s adroit orchestra for gorgeous reads of “I Love You” and “Long Ago (And Far Away)” while making some pop hits with ditties like “Maryz Doats” and reuniting with The Pied Pipers for “The Trolley Song.” She had a big ht with Red Ingle & The Natural Seven in 1947’s “Temptation.” Her voice has an almost instantly nostalgic ring to it, evoking images of warmth and  optimism, without any foreboding nuance.

While she shines in the solo spotlight, her collection of duos is also quite alluring. She had a big hit joined by  Gordon MacRae on 1949’s “My Darling My Darling” with  “Whispering Hope” not far behind. Teamed with Frankie Lane, you get a fun filled “Gambella” and “Pretty-Eyed Baby” form the early fifties. Her rendition of “Make Love To Me” and “You Belong To Me” are the apotheosis of class, yet she was also versatile enough to sound cozy in down home pieces such as “ Jambalaya,”which is why she endured through the years. This collection with impressive liner notes, explains why she was the vocal equivalent of a dark blue dress jacket; she perfectly fits every occasion.

Leave a Reply