Tuesday, August 2, 2016

SHG: Jimmy Dorsey: "So Rare"

Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra & Chorus: “So Rare”
Entered the chart on: 4/13/1957
Peaked on: 6/24/1957
Weeks at #2: 4 weeks
Songs at #1: “Love Letters in the Sand” by Pat Boone and “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley

Checking out the pop charts of the late fifties can be a bit like catching falling stars. On the one hand we have artists like Elvis Presley, Fats Domino and the Everly Brothers, whose stars were on the rise. On the other hand, we have the likes of Joni James, Doris Day and Johnnie Ray, who were making inroads to the Top 40 for the last time, and by the turn of the decade wouldn’t trouble the pop charts again.

Here we have Jimmy Dorsey, who, along with his brother Tommy, was one of the architects of the big band sound of the 30s and 40s. And this would be his only hit in the rock & roll era. I thought, looking at that title, that this wasn’t a new song and indeed, it wasn’t: it had already been a big hit for Guy Lombardo twenty years before. It was only new to Jimmy, who was then slumming it at Cincinnati-based Fraternity Records, home to SHG alum Cathy Carr. Let’s see how he fares with it:

I’m really torn by this one. On the one hand, good God! Jimmy’s saxophone just kills it! I mean, man, that man could blow! And I mean that in the nicest way possible! Really, the horn charts overall, not just his sax lead, just absolutely slay throughout this whole thing. The whole instrumental track is arranged to perfection on this tune.

And that’s the problem with this recording. The “Orchestra & Chorus” in the credits. I get that it was the style at the time, and one had to compete with the Les Baxters and Billy Vaughns of the world but...my word, the Disney-soundtrack mixed-voice choir on this come close to murdering the song. Seriously, it’s that sucky choir that’s the only thing preventing me from awarding this the full five stars.

Couldn’t we have a remix that eliminates the choir entirely? Please? Because it’s the only thing that’s keeping me from 100% enjoyment of this song.

Rating: 4

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