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Astaire, Fred - Mr Top Hat
(Verve MG-V-2010 US-56 VG+ 275:-)

"The Astaire Story" was deluxe four LP box set issued in a strictly limited edition of 1,384 copies, each one hand-signed by Astaire and the artist David Stone Martin, who contributed original drawings and paintings to the album.

"Mr Top Hat" is a selection of tracks from this 1952 session. Mr Astaire is backed by Oscar Peterson, Charlie Shavers, Flip Phillips, Barney Kessel, Ray Brown and Alvin Stoller.

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded VG+.
Dietrich, Marlene - At the Café de Paris
(Columbia ML-4975 US-5? EX 275:-)

The most exotic actress of the 1930s and '40s, Marlene Dietrich performed her cabaret act around the world in the post-war period, after her film career had slowed. A thick German accent and her odd sung-spoken vocal style proved no barrier to international popular success and adoration.

This album was recorded in London, at Marlene's opening night at Café de Paris in June 21, 1954.

1950's US pressing on the "Six Logo" label.
Piaf, Edith - L'intégrale De Ses Enregistrements
(Columbia 2C 152-72085/98 Fra-80 VG+ 800:-)

Édith Giovanna Gassion was noted as France's national chanteuse and one of the country's most widely known international stars. Piaf's music was often autobiographical, and she specialized in chanson réaliste and torch ballads about love, loss and sorrow.

This 14LP Box Set comes in a unique red velvet box with silver engraved 'signature' title cover. Includes a 24 page full colour booklet with photos and song credits.
Tormé & Frances Faye, Mel - Porgy & Bess
(Bethlehem EXLP-1 US-56 VG+ 400:-)

This three-LP box set is an unusual concept; virtually the full production of "Porgy and Bess" is re-enacted in a jazz setting.

Al "Jazzbo" Collins does a surprisingly effective narrative, and key roles are played by Mel Torme (Porgy), Frances Faye (Bess), Betty Roche (Clara), Johnny Hartman (Crown), Frank Rosolino (Jake), Joe Derise (Honey Man), Bob Dorough (Crab Man), George Kirby (Sportin' Life) and Sallie Blair (Serena).

With backing from the Bethlehem Orchestra (conducted and arranged by Russ Garcia), the Australian Jazz Quintet, the Pat Moran Quartet, and a combo headed by drummer Stan Levey, along with a cameo appearance (for the opening fanfare) by Duke Ellington's Orchestra, the results are certainly musical.

Original US 3LP Box Set; sleeve has the original handkerchief stuffed into the "back pocket".