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Cole Porter: An All-Star Tribute

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
This album, the audio complement to a video of the same name, presents an episode of the television series The Bell Telephone Hour broadcast on January 28, 1964, in tribute to Cole Porter. Porter, who would die later the same year, was hailed primarily by the show's hostess, Ethel Merman, who had starred in five of his musicals on Broadway. Joining her was Gretchen Wyler, who had had a featured role in Porter's 1955 show Silk Stockings, along with John Raitt, a Broadway star not generally associated with Porter, and singer Martha Wright. Also joining in was pianist Peter Nero. This cast managed to get through 52 Porter titles in 47 minutes, which should give some sense of how much attention they gave to each song. Most were merely alluded to in lengthy medleys, given a chorus or a verse, although Nero performed "Night and Day" in its entirety and the show's orchestra did "Begin the Beguine." Merman dominated, which was appropriate, since many of the songs she sang had been written with her in mind. The disc adds six tracks from another Merman appearance on The Bell Telephone Hour four years earlier on January 29, 1960, during which she sang a more varied program including works by Irving Berlin and George and Ira Gershwin. As a result, this is largely an Ethel Merman album, even if Cole Porter's picture is on the cover. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi