PS Classics Inc., the nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of American musical theatre heritage, has joined forces with the Library of Congress on volumes of the Library's ongoing Songwriter Series recording project. The next volume, the first on the PS Classics Inc. label, is devoted to theatre and film composer Hugh Martin and becomes available Jan. 11 exclusively on the PS Classics, Inc. website, www.psclassics.org website. It will be made available at a later date to specialty stores devoted to musical theatre.
The Songwriter Series albums — first released in 1994 on the Koch label, and drawn primarily from private recordings and radio appearances — have included such songwriters as Irving Berlin, "Yip" Harburg, and Sammy Fain performing their own work. "Hugh Sings Martin" is being produced by Songwriter Series producer Steve Nelson, with Hugh Martin's full cooperation, and is supervised by Elizabeth Auman and Mark Horowitz of the Music Division of the Library of Congress.
Martin had a celebrated career as a composer-lyricist (Best Foot Forward, Meet Me in St. Louis and Look Ma, I'm Dancing), as a vocal arranger for such shows as Rodgers & Hart's Boys from Syracuse and Too Many Girls, and as a member of the swing vocal quartet The Martins. The CD "will include selections from each facet of his career," according to the announcement.
Philip Chaffin, co-founder of PS Classics Inc., told Playbill.com, "Steve Nelson, the series producer, and Betty Auman, of The Library of Congress, approached us earlier this year. We were just launching our own 'Sondheim Sings' series, so obviously, we had a great interest in helping preserve the sound archives of the great composers and were eager to collaborate with them on their Songwriter Series. Starting with the Hugh Martin disc was especially fun, because Hugh was very enthusiastic and very hands-on, to the point where when we couldn't find a suitable period recording of Hugh performing his most famous song, 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,' he actually went into the studio and recorded one! We're looking to have 'Hugh Sings Martin' up for sale at our website on Jan. 10, and then we'll look to put out one album a year [devoted to different writers] after that." The track listing of "Hugh Sings Martin" is as follows:
1. "We the People"
2. "The Trolley Song"
3. "An Apple for the Teacher"
4. "Ooh, What You Said"
5. "Look Out"
6. "Skip to My Lou"
7. "The Girl Next Door"
8. "Just a Little Joint With a Juke Box"
9. "What Do You Think I Am?
10. "The Three B's"
11. "The Rhythm Is Red an' White an' Blue"
12. "Gotta Dance"
13. "Pass That Peace Pipe"
14. "I Happen to Love You"
15. "I Like the Feeling"
16. "Little Boy (Girl) Blues"
17. "That’s How I Love the Blues"
18. "The Story of My Life"
19. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Chaffin is also A&R Director of the Grammy-nominated commercial record label PS Classics LLC, whose releases include cast recordings of Assassins, The Frogs and Fiddler on the Roof, and vocal albums featuring Christine Andreas, Rebecca Luker, and Jessica Molaskey, among others.
For more information about projects of not-for-profit PS Classics, Inc. — the company that released the "Sondheim Sings" series, and the studio recording of the Kay Swift musical Fine and Dandy — visit www.psclassics.org.