Out this month is the first album commemorating the roly-poly singer who died last December. Mildred Bailey (Decca, 2 sides LP) includes eight of her best-known songs, if not the best versions of all of them. Even so, Lover, Come Back to Me, More than You Know, and the song Hoagy Carmichael wrote for her, Rockin' Chair, are still outstanding. Recording: good.
Other new records:
Raminay! (Jo Stafford; Columbia) was a New Orleans chimney sweeps' cry. Judging from this song, neither the tunesmith (Sammy Fain) nor pseudo Blues Singer Stafford ever got within good hearing distance of the South's "Cradle of Jazz."
Jeannine (Louis Armstrong and Gordon Jenkins' Orchestra; Decca). An oldtimer, given a Hollywood nightmare of swooping strings, burning trumpet and gravel-voiced singing. Indian Love Call, on the other side, is even more unbelievable.
Blue Tango (Leroy Anderson; Decca). A sort of poor man's Third Man Theme, set to jolting Latin rhythm. This version by the composer triumphs over those by Xavier Cugat, Guy Lombardo, et al.Runnin' Wild (Teddy Wilson and the All Stars; MGM, 8 sides). Old favorites such as Bugle Call Rag, Stompin' at the Savoy, I Surrender Dear, well played by the pixie-fingered professor (of jazz piano at Juilliard School of Music) and such cohorts as Trumpeter Buck Clayton, Vibraphonist Red Norvo. Not too well recorded.
Easy Does It! (Benny Goodman; Capitol, 6 sides). The lion of the licorice stick in some of the best of his more intimate work with the trio, quintet, sextet and septet. Includes Puttin' on the Ritz, Henderson Stomp, Makin' Whoopee.What's the Use? (Johnnie Ray; Columbia). Sobber Ray restrains his tears but not his gulping and gobbling of the lyrics; the song, above an "Arabian" Latin rhythm, is thoroughly ordinary. For those who can stand larger doses, Columbia has also issued his first album (Johnnie Ray, 8 sides), including Don't Blame Me, All of Me.