Charlotte Rae's Rare 1955 Solo Album, "Songs I Taught My Mother," Gets a CD Life

News   Charlotte Rae's Rare 1955 Solo Album, "Songs I Taught My Mother," Gets a CD Life The golden age of American nightclubs and revues will be revisited with the CD release of Charlotte Rae's 1955 solo album, "Songs I Taught My Mother."
Charlotte Rae
Charlotte Rae

PS Classics, the label dedicated to celebrating the heritage of Broadway and American popular song, is releasing the much-loved disc. This marks the album's CD debut. The label will be releasing the disc through its nonprofit branch, PS Classics Inc. (www.psclassics.org), and expects an early fall release.

Tony and Emmy nominee Rae, known for her late-career work as Mrs. Garrett on TV's "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Facts of Life," was a nightclub attraction in the 1950s and starred as Mrs. Peachum in the famed 1954 Off-Broadway production of Threepenny Opera, as Mammy Yokum in Li'l Abner on Broadway. She was Tony Award nominated as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Pickwick (1965) and as Best Actress in a Play for Morning, Noon and Night (1968) and was Obie Award nominated for Terrence McNally's Whiskey (1973). Her most recent New York appearance was in the 2006 Encores! production of 70, Girls, 70.

Her Broadway credits also include Boom Boom Room, The Chinese, Dr. Fish, The Golden Apple and the comedy The Beauty Part.

Originally issued on the Vanguard label, "Songs I Taught My Mother" was co-conceived by Rae's ex-husband, composer John Strauss, who provided all the musical settings.

"A classic of its time, it showcased the singer-actress-comedienne in a delightful and novel album composed almost entirely of specialty material," according to PS Classics. In addition to selections written especially for Rae (including Sheldon Harnick's "Backer's Audition" and "Gabor the Merrier" and Marc Blitzstein's "Modest Maid"), it features songs by Cole Porter ("When I Was a Little Cuckoo"), Vernon Duke ("Summer Is a-Comin' In" and "The Sea-Gull and the Ea-Gull"), and John Latouche ("A Nail in the Horseshoe"), as well as the more familiar "Why Can't I?" by Rodgers and Hart.

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PS Classics is committed "to the great tradition of Broadway and American popular song that begins in Tin Pan Alley and stretches all the way to today's most fresh and distinctive composers and lyricists."

Its recent releases include Sunday in the Park With George (The 2006 London Cast), the John Bucchino revue It's Only Life, and its centennial tribute to "Jule Styne in Hollywood"; its next release, on Aug. 22, is the cast recording of Grey Gardens, starring Christine Ebersole.

PS Classics is distributed by Image Entertainment. Visit www.psclassics.com.