Ethel Merman disco album (!)

Ethel Merman: Disco AlbumWell, I guess it had to happen eventually, but they’ve re-released the ETHEL MERMAN DISCO ALBUM. It’s not in record stores until the end of the month, but for right now if you’re dying to have it, you can get it online. There are even RealAudio samples of some of the tracks, which include some of those great disco standards like “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” and that old disco favorite, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” The samples don’t give you much in the way of Merman’s performance, but it does show off the “art” of the arrangers. There’s actually some pretty clever stuff in there, but whoever did the arranging does seem to have had only one way to start every piece. Was disco really like that? The material I’ve read about this album says that Merman recorded her track alone, without hearing the orchestrations. Given the pacing and rhythm of her performance, I can’t imagine but that some version of the rhythm track must have been laid down for her to go with, as her timing and style are just perfect. You can’t invent that kind of thing after the fact by wrapping an arrangement around it!