Columbia does here what they have done with a number of their recording artists since the advent of the CD, and that is throw out an album blaring “greatest hits” which then ignores some genuinely great ones, while throwing in several that were album cuts and, while OK in and among themselves, were not “hits” in the accepted sense of the word.
In this release that would include Sing Along, You Are My Sunshine, The Longest Day, and Be Kind To Your Web-Footed Friends. The remainder, however, can certainly be counted among his greatest hits, and full chart details are contained in the discography of the contents in the insert, which also has liner notes written by Will Friedwald in 1999. The sound quality is excellent, with tracks 1 to 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12 in glorious mono.
What would have made this a 5-star release would have been the omission of those four mentioned above and their replacement with any four (or five to make it an even 20 tracks) of the following: Meet Mr. Callaghan (# 23 in September 1952); Without My Lover (# 25 in March 1953 featuring Stan Freeman on harpsichord); Under Paris Skies (# 26 in December 1953); Napoleon (# 25 in July 1954, a vocal adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture); and Madeira (# 50 in April 1956).
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There was already a Mitch Miller Greatest Hits album releaaed a few decades back. There are, I think, several faces to Mitch Miler. The choir conductor. The march conductor, and the novelty musician. This collection should have been called ‘A Mitch Miller Portrait’ and featured some of each of those. One knows Mitch Miller best, I suppose, for the singing gang of television fame, with their own theme, SING ALONG. More of those songs should have been included. Also more of the great marches. And perhaps more of the novelty songs, like THE HAPPY WANDERER. I think Mitch Miller had the best version of that song. This album is a bit of a letdown, but enjoyable just the same.
Years ago I had an LP called “Mitch’s Marches” which contained many of the selections included on this release. Those are what I bought the album for. The other sing-along “hits” aren’t bad, but I wish the album had concentrated solely on the marches.