Anthology: The Denver Nightingale
Released: April 27, 2018
Sales (in millions): --
Genre: traditional pop
Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 78:56
4.728 out of 5.00 (average of 10 ratings)
Quotable: Billy Murray “set a standard for natural, conversational singing that informed popular music long after he himself passed from the scene.” – William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
“Billy Murray may have been the best-selling recording artist of the first quarter of the 20th century, but his name and work had fallen into obscurity before his death in 1954.” AMG “He remained forgotten in the LP era and for the first decades of the CD era. But this disc belatedly brings him into the digital realm, and it does so with spectacular success.” AMG
“Murray’s excellent articulation and comic timing made him a perfect singer for the acoustic era of recording, allowing him to be understood and appreciated despite the technical limitations. He led the way for such successors as Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor, and he set a standard for natural, conversational singing that informed popular music long after he himself passed from the scene. This long-overdue compilation presents the highlights of his extensive catalog; there is plenty more where it came from.” AMG
He was “one of the best interpreters of the music of George M. Cohan—America’s preeminent songwriter.” AZ This includes the songs Yankee Doodle Boy, Give My Regards to Broadway, You’re a Grand Old Flag, and Harrigan.
“From rousing anthems to biting wit, Billy had a knack for entertaining as a solo artist and with bands.” AZ That means that in addition to his solo recordings, there are representations here of songs he recorded with the American and Haydn Quartets as well as duo efforts with Ada Jones, Aileen Stanley, Ed Smalle, and Walter Scanlan.
This collection gathers 30 songs from throughout his career, spanning from 1903 to 1940. Given the chart success of so many of these songs, this set is on par with the greatest compilations of all time, such as the Beatles’ One and Elvis Presley’s 30 #1 Hits. Seventeen of these songs reached #1. Another seven were top-ten hits. Six of the songs here are featured in the Dave’s Music Database book The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era.
“Murray had so many popular recordings that a single disc could not hope to encompass them, but given the time limitations the producers have done the best possible job.” AMG In addition to some of Murray’s most important recordings, this collection also includes “the rare brown wax cylinder of The Way to Kiss a Girl, from one of Billy’s first recording sessions.” AZ It works its way through his more popular years, and then his “decline in the late 1920s and ‘30s and his attempted comeback in the early ‘40s with It’s the Same Old Shillelagh, performed with Harry’s Tavern Band, “giving a full sense of his recording career.” AMG
Notes: Originally released in 2002, this was remastered in 2018 and a “24-page booklet contains a biographical essay and song notes by Murray biographer Frank Hoffmann and a reminiscence of Murray by a man who knew him, Quentin Riggs.” AZ
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First posted 2/9/2022.