Singles collections from postwar vocal artists aren't usually stocked with A-list material, since after the advent of the LP, the singles format increasingly became a venue for either stylistic experimentation or light novelties aimed at the charts. Jo Stafford was an exception to the rule, however, not only because she was a consummate artist but also because she worked closely with her husband, arranger/conductor Paul Weston, and exercised a large amount of quality control. The Columbia Singles Collection, Vol. 1, released by the family-founded Corinthian label (Tim Weston, the son of Paul and Jo, produced the record), reissues 25 tracks from obscure singles releases recorded by Stafford and Weston during the '50s. (Her biggest hits of the era, including "You Belong to Me" and "Make Love to Me," obviously were released as singles, but don't appear here because they're widely available elsewhere.) Stafford had matured greatly as a vocalist, after her success during the big-band era. Listening to her performance of the Gershwin classic "Love Is Here to Stay," it's clear she retained the sweetness and warmth of her youth but exerted greater control over her voice. Many of the performances are standards, and even the few novelties are imbued with an energy that speaks to the great care they took with her material -- the delightfully risqu‚ yet slightly innocent "Indoor Sport" and the great-hearted "Big D" are among the best here, but also interesting are a sound-alike of "You Belong to Me" titled "I'll Be There," and Stafford's brush with rock & roll, a cover of the Ray Charles standard (alternately titled "I Got a Sweetie"). ~ John Bush
16023MJo Stafford - The Columbia Singles Collection, Volume 1 (CD)http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/large/11/783121112028.jpg?v=1418.8921.76USDDiscontinuedCorinthian RecordsCDVocals-MusicJo-Stafford2007-03-15
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