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POLLY BERGEN - THE EARLY YEARS (SEPIA 1093)

1. HONKY TONKIN 2:11 
2. MOUNTN BOYS HAVE FUN WITH MOUNTN GIRLS 2:34 
3. OH THEM DUDES 2:30 
4. I GOT TOOKIN 2:30 
5. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE 2:53 
6. I PUT MY HEAD IN THE LIONS MOUTH 2:20 
7. TONDA WANDA HOY 2:45 
8. OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND 3:24 
9. APPLE ON A PEAR TREE 2:13 
10. DONT LET OUR LOVE DIE ON THE VINE 2:50 
11. NO ONE ELSE WILL EVER KNOW 2:44 
12. LETS MAKE LOVE 2:15 
13. SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME 3:24 
14. AUTUMN LEAVES 3:24 
15. HAPPINESS IS A THING CALLED JOE 4:00 
16. LITTLE GIRL BLUE 3:43 
17. THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT 2:52 
18. A WOMAN LIKES TO BE TOLD 2:55 
19. I THOUGHT OF YOU LAST NIGHT 2:33 
20. WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG 6:03 
21. THE WAYWARD WIND 3:07 
22. HOW LITTLE WE KNOW 2:12 
23. TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT 2:22 
24. ITS ALL YOURS 2:21 
25. DARLING I BELONG TO YOU 2:32 
26. ONE LITTLE MISTAKE 3:00 

Title: The Early Years
Artist: Polly Bergen
Catalogue No: SEPIA 1093
Barcode: 5055122110934
Release Date: 7 May 2007

The looks and poise of a 1950s Vogue model; the mentholated singing voice; the actresss approach to words all these helped launch Polly Bergen on a career that began in the late 40s and still thrives today. TV audiences saw her being panel of that eras number-one TV game show, To Tell the Truth. Onscreen in the classic thriller Cape Fear (1962), she played the terrified wife of a lawyer (Gregory Peck) stalked by a man he helped convict. A year later, Doris Day gave her a brutal Swedish massage in Move Over, Darling. In the 1980s she partnered Robert Mitchum in the hit TV mini-series The Winds Of War and its sequel War And Remembrance. Polly became a cosmetics mogul, a Park Avenue party-thrower, a boldface name in social columns. She wore so many hats that music seemed like just another feather in one of them.

But singing had made her famous, and it brought her back in 2000 after a long absence from the spotlight. This CD contains almost every side she cut before 1957, when she burst into prominence with an Emmy-winning TV portrayal of the legendary torch singer Helen Morgan. Earlier on, Bergen had recorded a scattered pile of hillbilly tunes (the by-product of her birth in Tennessee), novelty kitsch, and a fine first album of torch songs, heard here in its entirety.

Nellie Paulina Burgin was born in 1930 in the town of Bluegrass. At fourteen she got her own radio show in Richmond, Indiana; by nineteen she had made her New York club debut and played a singer in Across the Rio Grande, a Monogram B-western. Other films included three Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis films: At War With The Army, Thats My Boy, and The Stooge. RCA signed the new starlet in 1950, and on her early recordings, Bergen sounds relaxed, good-humoured, and vocally effortless.

In 1955 she made a ten-inch LP of intimate club material, Little Girl Blue. The small ensemble gives the album a floating, inebriated midnight feel; untied to tempo, Bergen pores over words, her heart on her sleeve. When The World Was Young, a then-new French chanson with English words by Johnny Mercer, typifies the three-act story-songs she favoured; portraying a jaded, world-weary sophisticate, Bergen sings with tearful eyes and full-tilt drama.

Reminded of her early singles in 2007, she exclaimed: Oh my God! Ive never heard of these songs. I dont remember ever recording them. But the roots of the marvellous singer-actress she became, and which she remains, are here on even the most trivial of these 50s souvenirs.

 

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