Ruth Etting • All The Hits and More 1926-37

Ruth Etting • All The Hits and More 1926-37Ruth Etting (1896-1978) was the female equivalent of Bing Crosby during her peak years. Like Crosby, Etting gave jazz feeling and relaxed phrasing to pop songs. While she was not as jazz-oriented as Crosby or her contemporary Annette Hanshaw, occasionally she showed that she could have been a major jazz singer if she had chosen that direction; her second vocal on “I’m Nobody’s Baby” from 1927 is proof of that. But instead she evolved from a flapper-type vocalist singing joyful lyrics while accompanied by a stride pianist into a superior interpreter of ballads and torch songs. Etting was at the top of her field throughout the first half of the 1930s before her tumultuous private life caused by her marriage to a gangster who acted as her manager resulted in her retiring in 1937 when she was 40.

The three-CD set All The Hits and More 1926-37 has 71 of Ruth Etting’s best recordings, over 60 of which were considered hits at the time. Her performances during 1926-27 and part of 1928 find her displaying a higher voice than one would expect with the emphasis on material that is peppy and upbeat. In 1928 her voice became more mature as did the material she sang. From that point on, her songs often emphasized relationships that sometimes do not work out. As with the Ukulele Ike set, her collection (while not complete) is pretty definitive.

Red Wood Coast

Among the highlights are her popular versions of such songs as “’Deed I Do,” “It All Depends On You,” “Shaking The Blues Away,” “Love Me Or Leave Me,” “I’ll Get By,” “Mean To Me,” “Ten Cents a Dance,” “A Cottage For Sale,” “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes,” “Moonlight Saving Time,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and “Shine On Harvest Moon.” In most cases the sidemen are unfortunately not listed in the liner notes (Rube Bloom is sometimes the pianist in her earlier recordings) but, since the focus throughout is on the singer, that is a minor reservation to a rewarding reissue.

Ruth Etting – All The Hits And More, 1926-37
Acrobat 9141

Scott Yanow

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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