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Daily Record 11/11/11: What’s New? on Capitol Records–various artists (1959)

In 1950s, compilations, EZ listening music on November 11, 2011 at 11:45 pm

What’s New on Capitol Records Vol. 1 was released in 1959. It is a compilation of one track apiece from 12 different albums that were all new in ’59. The front cover (shown below, along with back cover) notes that the album is “a preview of outstanding new stereo albums featuring top artists in top performances” and that is exactly what it is.

This album provides a neat, concise look at (non-rock&roll) pop music circa 1959. Some crooning (Nat King Cole’s “My Heart’s Treasure,” Judy Garland’s “That’s All There Is, There Isn’t Anymore”), some jazz (Jonah Jones’ “I Dig Chicks,” Ray Bauduc and Nappy Lamare’s “Coffee House Rag”), some tunes that would eventually become known as “space age bachelor pad music” (Les Baxter’s “Voodoo Dreams” and Jack Marshall’s “River Kwai March”) and more, more, more!

I am a big fan of the record company compilation, no matter what the era. The point was that the company would provide just a taste of a wide variety of albums, all on one very cheap record (often costing just a dollar or two!) in the hopes that listeners become so entranced with one or two or six of the tracks that they rush out to their local “record dealer” to purchase a whole stack of the albums featured on the compilation.

Not sure exactly how often that strategy worked, but these kind of compilations make for fascinating time capsules, even (or, actually, especially) long after their “sell-by” date has passed. That is certainly true of this What’s New? album, which I found to be just as entertaining today as I’d like to image a curious listener found it to be 52 years ago.

What’s New?, front cover. I like how you get to see miniature photos of the represented albums.

What’s New?, back cover. I’m also a fan of disembodied heads on album covers.

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