on March 10, 2004
1 KNOW THERE ARE A LOT (ABOUT 35, ACTUALLY) OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG'S GREATEST HITS CDs OUT THERE. I HAVE 31 OF HIS TAPES AND CDs MYSELF! JAZZ IS MY FAVORITE MUSIC (THAT AND GOTHIC/INDUSTRIAL), AND BEING ORIGINALLY FROM NEW ORLEANS, DOWN SOUTH, I HAVE HEARD MORE JAZZ THAN MOST. BUT I JUST HAVE TO SAY THAT OF ALL THE LOUIS BEST ALBUMS, THIS ONE CONTAINS THE MOST OF HIS REALLY, TRULY BEST NUMBERS.
THE MOST POPULAR SONGS ON THIS RECORD INCLUDE: MACK THE KNIFE, HELLO DOLLY, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, BLUEBERRY HILL, LA VIE EN ROSE, WHEN IT'S SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH AND MANY MORE--ALL GREAT!!! MY FAVORITE TWO ARE "SKOKIAAN" AND "SITTIN' IN THE SUN." THERE ARE 18 TRACKS TOTAL, AND HONESTLY, I NEVER WANT TO FAST FORWARD THROUGH ANY OF THEM!!!
I LISTEN TO THIS CD CONSTANTLY (IT'S PLAYING NOW!!!!) AND I NEVER TIRE OF ITS UP-LIFTING, SWINGIN', CAN'T HELP BUT SMILING AND LAUGHING COLLECTION. IT'S SUCH A "FEEL GOOD" CD THAT I GIVE IT TO MY DEPRESSED FRIENDS TO CHEER THEM UP. IT WORKS; I SWEAR! AND I DON'T MIND ADMITTING THAT IT HAS GOTTTEN ME OUT OF MANY BAD MOOD.
AS THE BEATNIK'S WOULD SAY, "THIS MUSIC MAKES YOU SOAR, MAN!"
on September 16, 2003
The above caption comes from the seven pages of wonderful liner notes written by Will Friedwald, the author of Jazz Singing, and is attributed to the great Duke Ellington. Who, it is safe to say, knew what he was talking about when it came to Jazz.
Interspersed with the notes are a few more photographs of Louis and several LP/45/78 reproductions. A discography of the contents completes the package, although chart performances are not recorded.
Louis, of course, was selling thousands upon thousands of records long before there were charts, and after the advent of the Most-Played Juke Box Race Records charts [now R&B charts) in the mid-1940s, he had hits with I Wonder (#5 in 1945) and The Frim Fram Sauce (# 4 in 1946 in a duet with Ella Fitgerald). That same year he and Ella cracked the pop charts with You Won't Be Satisfied Until You Break My Heart (# 10) backed with Bob Haggart & His Orchestra. None of these, unfortunately, are included here.
In 1949 he made it to both charts simultaneously with That Lucky Old Sun [track 7] on which he began a lucrative association with Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra [# 14 on what had become known by then as the Most-Played Juke Box Rhythm And Blues Records charts] and # 19 pop. That, incidentally, would be the last time he would chart on anything related to R&B.
From there until 1966 he would chalk up 18 more pop hits, mostly for Decca, but also for the Capitol, Columbia [Mack The Knife], Kapp, ABC, and Mercury labels. In this volume you get all but the # 30 1950 duet with Ella, Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No), Now You Has Jazz, a 1956 # 88 duet with Bing on Capitol from the film High Society, So Long Dearie (# 56 in 1964 for Mercury), and Mame (# 81 in 1966 for Mercury).
What A Wonderful World first charted at # 12 on the Adult Contemporary Charts in 1966 for ABC, and in 1968 a re-release "bubbled under" on the Billboard pop charts at # 116. However, following the release of the film Good Morning Vietnam it reached # 32 pop in 1988 for A&M, and in 1999 the same recording, overdubbed by the sax of Kenny G, reached # 53 for the Arista label.
The sound quality on all tracks is superb and this is one of the best CDs on the market covering his hit singles.
on August 23, 2002
In my humble opinion, Louis Daniel Armstrong is one of the great musical and cultural icons of history. I admit to being biased in that I'm from the birthplace of Jazz. Nonetheless, it's a mighty task to rate any compilation of Mr. Armstrong's recordings given his long and brilliant career as 'America's Music Ambassador'.
Actually I give this collection 4 1/2 stars. The only reason I deduct half a star is that I would have liked this to be a 2-CD collection so some of his other classics like "All Of Me", "Ain't Misbehavin'", "Indiana", "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans" and a few others could have been included.
But make no mistake: If you have to choose one collection to buy , this is a sure-fire winner. The song "What a Wonderful World" is truly the perfect song for Satchmo to leave us with. Many others have put it much more eloquently than I am able to but I feel we all, especially those lovers of Jazz, owe much to this man, not only as a pioneer of Jazz trumpet and vocals, but also as a very genuine human being. Anytime he appeared on film, played on stage, or performed on record, Louis Armstrong helped to make this 'A Wonderful World' for us all.
on December 8, 2001
Attempting to review a Louis Armstrong disc is rather like trying to hold back the proverbial flood waters with a bucket. Without question Louis is, in the words of Duke Ellington, "the epitome of jazz and always will be". That being said since I not only enjoy this cd so very much but also having no small admiration for "Pops" as well than I felt a review would be my way of showing respect.
Now, first things always being first, the jazz consumer should understand that " Louis Armstrong's All-Time Greatest Hits" is actually a compilation of songs from his years with Decca, circa 1951-1967, and represents more of a 'crossover' appeal than his much earlier work when he was playing not only jazz but also Rag-time, New Orleans and Big Band. That being the case the songs here do offer a wonderful variety of the different sides of Louis singing, playing and generally just having himself a wonderful time! Again not necessarily 'real' jazz ( and who should care? ) but, in the case of Mr. Armstrong, I am more than happy with the results.
And what results! Reviewing highlights of this disc simply seems unnecessary so why bother? Basically what the disc represents is not only of a first-rate musician but also a man who simply loved people and life and it comes out in every song that is chosen for this selection. A certain "Joie de Vive" that I find irresistable! My favorites, "What A Wonderful World" a song that I suspect is everyone's, "La Vie En Rose" so splendid it almost makes me forget Edith Piaf and of course "A Kiss To Build A Dream On" a tune that is so sweet and romantic it makes me wish I were in love....again! Now I do understand that many 'jazz purists' may view this disc as something less than the best of what Mr. Armstrong has to offer. Which is to play straight forward jazz without this 'pop' sensibility which permeates this disc. But make no mistake.... if you are unable to enjoy this fine cd because it isn't true jazz than you really are missing an important aspect of what makes Louis Armstrong such a musical genius ( yes, there's that word...but HEY it applies! ). Which, I feel, is simply to love music, play it with your heart...and soul, and believe that it truly is "a wonderful world".
In ending, what Louis Armstrong represents, to me, is a musician who creates music that simply defies catagorization. But, and this is so important, with honesty, integrity, humour and also in a wonderfully carefree fashion that I find so lacking in today's 'oh so serious' jazz players! Purchasing this disc is up to each of you of course but you might consider this.....without these virtues that I've previously stated, would we honestly be enjoying the jazz that we have the pleasure of listening to today if not for his incredible vision? I already have my answer...perhaps this disc will help you find yours. Thank-You "Pops"!!
on February 3, 2001
i can't really say anything about louis armstrong that is justifiably complete within 1000 words. his music is beyond the scope of a mere review. this collection makes that point scathingly clear. every song here is great, a classic, if you will. sure, there will be bickering over some of the selections, though you can't argue with "what a wonderful world", "mack the knife", "la vie en rose", and a handful of others. you'll recognize a lot of these tunes, and you will undoubtedly enjoy this disc the more for it. so, if you're looking for a broad, as thorough-as-you-can-expect from one disc compilation, then this appears to be it. but i'll warn you; once you buy this, it's going to take some kind of miracle to prevent you from getting as much louis in your collection as you can. otherwise, this is a fine choice if you want to just pop in a casual look at the most influential man in jazz while you relax and have a quiet dinner with a glass of your favorite red wine.
on May 2, 2000
Deciding at the age of 21 that it was high-time I spread my musical tastes from stuff produced during my own lifetime, Louie Armstrong is the first artist I turned to. He is, by the accout of his peers as well as artists today, the father of American popular music. I looked through racks of CDs for almost an hour, and this is the best single-disc compillation that has been produced of his work. It starts with the classic "What a Wonderful World" and features other popular songs such as "Mack the Knife" (popularized by Bobby Darin) and "Gone Fishin'" (duet with Bing Crosby). It also has other fifteen other Armstrong favorites that I never would have known were favorites without reading the highly informative CD jacket. I have no idea how anyone who likes music could dislike this album and I think that Satch's "All Time Greatest Hits" is a great buy for those who are conisseurs of his music, as well as for those who have no exposure at all.
on November 9, 1998
I have loved Louis Armstrong since I picked up a cornet some twenty six years ago and started to play. He is indeed one of the founders of the improvisational solo and as such is the spiritual father of any number of rock legends. Miles Davis once said of Satchmo, "all horn players should get on their knees and thank Louis Armstrong, nobody has played anything that he didn't play first." In fact, it seems a shame that Satchmo isn't remembered foremost for his horn playing. He was a genius on the order of Picasso, Einstein, Becket and Welles.
I bought this collection after listening to Pops' work with the Hot Fives and Sevens for years. This CD has stuff primarily from the fifties and sixties, when Louis was in his fifties and sixties. The music is very well produced and of course lacks the raw genius energy of his youth. What this music does have is beautiful wisdom. An extremely pleasant suprise on this CD is the tune Skokkian, it rocks, it is just too cool and I wish to God I could have seen Louis Armstrong perform Skokkian live. I have a five disk CD changer and my wife always has it in the player. This is also my 9 month old boy's absolute favorite disk, so I know we're raising him right.
on March 10, 2001
This CD is wonderful! Every song is excellent, every tune fun and nice to listen to.
All of Armstrong's best known songs are present from "Hello Dolly" to "Mack the Knife." One of my all time favorite songs from Armstrong is on this CD as well: "Sittin' in the Sun." Moreover, "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" a song which also appears on the "Sleepless in Seattle" soundtrack, and "What a Wonderful Life," probably one of Louis most famous songs are present as well.
As always Louis has a very distinctive voice which sounds great with all the tunes. The mix contains ragtime style, to pure Jazz, to big band style. Every song on this CD is great! There are no bad apples in the bunch! If you are a big Jazz fan, then you will not want to be without this CD. This CD always puts a smile on my face when I listen to it because Louis' music is so fun to hear. This one of my favorite CDs in my overall collection!
on January 11, 2002
True, the purists may complain it's not jazzy enough. I prefer these great versions of many of Louis' best known tunes, background strings and all! Anyway, how can an 18-song CD with the best versions of WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON, and WHEN IT'S SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH not be on an essential list? How about GONE FISHIN with Satch and Bing bantering from way back in 1951, when Elvis was a schoolboy? (Many still think Elvis and Co. broke the racial barriers many years later.) WHEN YOU'RE SMILING here has a special resonance,even if it's been done a million times before and since. THAT LUCKY OLD SUN should be heard more today, and this version is as good as the earlier Sinatra and later Ray Charles' versions. KISS OF FIRE has a Spanish flamengo sound,one which I never tire of. Out of 18 cuts, only maybe 2-3 are slightly below par, but that leaves 15 all-time recordings by one the 20th century's greatest and most long-lasting musical entertainers.
on November 11, 1999
This is an excellent introduction to the work of the great Louis Armstrong. In my opinion, Armstrong is the greatest musician America has ever produced, and is one of the world's all time great artists. This is an anthology of his most popular songs. I have never heard an Armstrong song I have not liked, and this collates some of his best, such as "What A Wonderful World" (the real deal, not that Kenny G travesty); my personal favorite, "Kiss To Build A Dream On"; "Skokiaan"; & more.
I want to add, that I am a music critic for a local metal/goth 'zine and NONE of the musicians I review would be where they are if it wasn't for Louis Armstrong. He is the father of American popular music.
Five stars simply is not enough for this album. No matter what genre of music you are into, even if you don't like jazz - run out and get this album! It's a winner!