Includes liner notes by Gene Lees.
Personnel: Jo Stafford (vocals).
Liner Note Author: Gene Lees.
Recording information: 1950-1956.
Editors: Tim Weston; Roger Nichols .
Unknown Contributor Role: Paul Weston & His Orchestra.
Not long after Jo Stafford's arranger (and future husband) Paul Weston moved from Capitol to Columbia in 1950, she followed him, preferring to work with an understanding producer (surely their budding relationship played a part as well). During the first half of the '50s, Stafford continued gracing the Hit Parade with the same balance of sedate, honey-toned balladry and up-tempo novelty singles cooked up with Weston. The pair's Corinthian label delivered this compilation of her rather erratic Columbia years, including 25 hits -- six of which were recorded in tandem with Frankie Laine. Stafford's biggest hit at Columbia (and of her entire career) was the wistful ballad "You Belong to Me," which spent months at the top of the charts. Even though she specialized in songs like this at Capitol, she didn't record many of them while at Columbia; "It Is No Secret" is similar, as is "Tennessee Waltz" and "(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such As I." The emphasis, however, is decidedly on the novelty songs, paced by frenetic country cornpone like "Hambone" and "Setting the Woods on Fire" (both with Laine). Most of the arrangements here would've been appropriate for the typical weak-lunged pop singer of the '50s; Weston and Columbia don't appear to have placed much confidence in the pure strength of Stafford's voice. ~ John Bush