PATTI PAGE - THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE: THE THIRD COLLECTION
Jasmine Records JASCD 34-4
Producing the Patti Page collection, THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE, was very challenging and time consuming, but exceptionally enjoyable. I worked with these recordings for more than a year prior to the release of the set. As a result of the sales and strong reception of Jasmine’s earlier Page box sets – NEAR TO YOU: Celebrating a Career…Defining Class (JASBOX 24-4) and ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE (JASBOX 30-4) – I had already completed a third volume that combined Mercury and Columbia material, and was planning to pitch it to Jasmine Records for release consideration when an opportunity arose to compile and program the Lang-Worth Transcriptions. These rare gems were offered to me on loan by Robert Bowling, Patti’s friend and founder of “The Patti Page Appreciation Society.” I reworked the large set, omitting half of the material and replacing it with the Lang-Worth songs and intros.
Countless hours were involved in listening to all the material (three choices per track in some instances) and determining the very best disc transfer to submit for re-mastering. The brief introductions Patti recorded were pressed on two separate discs with no labeling to indicate which intro would correspond with an appropriate track. These intros were very slightly edited in the final Jasmine project, creating a fine complement to the set.
The Lang-Worth Transcriptions were initially issued to select radio stations for local programming, and were never intended to be made available for sale in music stores. Some department stores, however, were later given access to these recordings, and they were utilized as background music (similar to what is sometimes referred to as elevator music). I worked directly from the unique 8” discs that resembled the later EPs (popular with the record-buying public in the mid-‘50s). These recordings were also available to radio stations in a 16” disc format.
The administration at Lang-Worth recognized the rising popularity of Patti Page when her first million-seller, “With My Eyes Wide Open I’m Dreaming,” began climbing the charts. There was mention of this new association in the December 1949 issue of Billboard, with the first recording date occurring in January 1950 and the final twelve tracks completed in March 1952. Ensemble musicians included Lou Stein (piano), Joe Sinacore (guitar), and Stanley Kay (percussion), and accompaniments were occasionally augmented with full orchestra. The repertoire chosen was a collaborative effort by Patti Page; her personal manager, Jack Rael, who supervised all sessions; and Lang-Worth; the scripted intros were provided by Lang-Worth writers.
Many of the Lang-Worth songs were later recorded for Mercury employing fuller and more sophisticated orchestrations. Patti’s style began to evolve after Lang-Worth, and it appeared she felt secure in taking a few liberties with the melody lines in such later tracks as “East of the Sun,” “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me,” “Where Are You,” “I’ll Never Smile Again,” and others. A few of the lesser-known songs such as “There’s Something in the Wind,” “Accent on Youth,” and “Tormented” have become my personal favorites. Her rendition of “The Prisoner’s Song” (with simple guitar accompaniment) might very well be the most sensitive and impressive interpretation of this classic country song.
It was a pleasure to select the fifty-five tracks from Patti Page’s vast Mercury library (many of which come from “The Great American Songbook”) for the first two discs. A few, such as “Basin Street Blues,” “Paradise,” “Did I Remember,” “Every Day,” and “Nobody’s Darlin’ But Mine,” were new discoveries. The exemplary re-mastering of the entire set by Tall Order Mastering is especially noteworthy. The crisp fidelity of “The Tennessee Waltz” LP on Disc Two is particularly impressive.
Very special words of appreciation go to Timothy Akers, Patti Page’s great-nephew and devoted fan, for providing details regarding all information related to the Lang-Worth Transcriptions and the names of specific musicians involved in these historic recordings.
Thanksgiving Day 2015