Martha Raye Swings
Born in Montana in 1916, Martha Raye was the daughter of a vaudeville couple and joined her parents? act as soon as she learned to walk. She made her Broadway debut in the 1934 musical revue Calling All Stars. While appearing as a singer-comedienne at the Trocadero in Hollywood, Paramount quickly signed her to a contract and she literally exploded on the screen in her feature debut, Rhythm on the Range with Bing Crosby, easily stealing the picture with what would become her trademark song - (If You Can?t Sing It) You?ll Have to Swing It - better remembered today as ?Mr. Paganini?.
Through two dozen films, opposite such comic greats as Bob Hope, W.C. Fields, Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and Abbott and Costello, she more than held her own with her big mouth and gorgeous legs in a series of zany roles. She then formed a U.S.O. troupe, performing tirelessly under incredibly difficult and dangerous conditions throughout World War II. This led to her greatest screen performance of all opposite Charlie Chaplin in Monsieur Verdoux.
Among her seven husbands was orchestra leader David Rose, with whom she made a series of commercial recordings in 1939. Among them were what was possibly the first uptempo swing version of Ol? Man River as well as the beautifully-torchy Body And Soul. In 1942, she recorded the boogie-woogie classic Pete Foot Pete, which she had introduced in the film Keep ?em Flying. Determined to prove her skills as a jazz singer, she used the pseudonym ?Margie Reed? and recorded five standards with Charlie Barnet in 1946. Their success emboldened her and she ventured into an eclectic jazz album with Phil Moore, billed as Martha Raye.
Television brought a new visibility to her career in the 1950?s, and her combination of comedy and song became firmly meshed in the hearts of the public. On her own hour-long variety show and later as a frequent guest-star, she was in constant demand throughout the rest of her life.
She entertained the soldiers once again in Vietnam that earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and appeared in two more major films - Billy Rose?s Jumbo with Doris Day and The Concorde - Airport ?79. She also co-starred in three more TV series - Alice with Linda Lavin, McMillan And Wife with Rock Hudson and the cult favorite The Bugaloos, in which she camped it up as Benita Bizarre. This Sepia release is a reminder of the times when Martha Raye was at her best - singing her heart out as only she could.
1. My Little Cousin 2:45
2. Oh The Pity Of It All 2:24
3. Pig Foot Pete 2:52
4. Three Little Sisters 2:41
5. Together 2:00
6. Ol? Man River 2:57
7. (If You Can?t Sing It) You?ll Have To Swing It 3:17
8. Body And Soul 3:01
9. Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater 2:28
10. I Got It Bad And That Ain?t Good 2:52
11. I Cover The Waterfront 2:56
12. As Long As I Live 3:00
13. Sweet Lorraine 2:57
14. Nobody Knows The Trouble I?ve Seen 2:57
15. The Boy Next Door 3:15
16. After You?ve Gone 2:34
17. Lotus Land 2:58
18. Miss Otis Regrets 2:53
19. Life?s Only Joy 3:04
20. Ooh, Dr. Kinsey! 3:10
21. Blues In The Night 2:36
22. Wolf Boy 2:33
23. Close To Me 2:45
24. That Old Black Magic 2:38