Ella Fitzgerald – Sings The George Gershwin Song Book

White Hot sound on side two of this original copy – shockingly good. Ella sounds rich, Tubey Magical and breathy — this is a real Demo Disc. Side one is very good as well, nicely warm and rich by track two. Nelson Riddle’s arrangements are especially interesting and artful throughout. 

It is our opinion that the mono takes all the fun out of the Nelson Riddle’s deliberately wide, spacious orchestral presentation surrounding Ella. Which is too bad: the mono pressings are five times as common as the stereo ones.

Side One

Very tubey and warm by the second track (the first track, not so much). Ella’s present and clear, all to the good.

Side Two

Amazing, as good as the best we have ever played. Fuller and richer, yet somehow even more clear than other copies! So spacious.

Her voice is Demo Disc quality in every way. That little honk in the mids that holds most copies back is gone!

Wikipedia notes: The New York Times columnist Frank Rich was moved to write a few days after Fitzgerald’s death that in the songbook series, she “performed a cultural transaction as extraordinary as Elvis’s contemporaneous integration of white and African-American soul.”

Here was a black woman popularizing urban songs often written by immigrant Jews to a national audience of predominantly white Christians. As Ira Gershwin said, in the line quoted in every obituary: “I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them.”

Most of the rest of us didn’t know, either. By the time she had gone through the entire canon, songs that had been pigeonholed as show tunes or jazz novelties or faded relics of Tin Pan Alley had become American classical music, the property and pride of everyone.


Side One

Sam and Delilah 
But Not for Me 
My One and Only (What Am I Gonna Do)
Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off 
(I’ve Got) Beginner’s Luck

Side Two

Oh, Lady Be Good
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Things Are Looking Up 
Just Another Rhumba 
How Long Has This Been Going On?

AMG Review

During the late ’50s, Ella Fitzgerald continued her Song Book records with Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book, releasing a series of albums featuring 59 songs written by George and Ira Gershwin… These performances are easily among Fitzgerald’s very best.