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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Al Jolson Overseas


Whispering/Peg O' My Heart

Al Jolson Overseas
Selections Originally Records for Kraft Music Hall Broadcasts
Decca Records DL 9070

From the back cover: This album is a tribute to Al Jolson's personal contribution to the servicemen of his country. Many, many people (GI's, ex-GI's, up to and including at least one ex-five star general) have asked for such a remembrance. Actually, these songs are taken from the famous Kraft Music Hall broadcasts, since no known recordings of Jolson's front-line performances exist. However, the songs here are the kind of songs he sang; the spirit the kind spirit which which he sang them. This is the very first time these performances have ever been released on records.

Also from the back cover: Al Jolson sang for anyone who would listen.

All America, all the world, for that matter, wanted to listen and he entertained.

Soldiers, sailors and marines, stationed in various corners of the globe – during three wars – loved Mr. Show Business.

A favorite during World War I, his tours in the course of World War II and the Korean conflict that followed, cemented his bond with the GI's.

After Pearl Harbor, he immediately volunteered for war service. Under the USO banner, he worked "the circuit" from Alaska to the Southwest Pacific, and from England to North Africa, India and Brazil. He even went out of his way to give independent shows at out-of-the-way posts, where entertainers seldom, if ever, appeared.

Jolson's tours were officially recognized as having great value. (He numbered among his personal friends Generals Patton and MacArthur.) Jolson truly gave of himself. As it turned out, much more than he realized. He developed malaria, and later, a lung infection that turned into double pneumonia. He eventually lost that lung.

Jolson spent two years recuperating (1943-1945).

With the coming of the Korean War, "GI Al" got his old private's uniform out of moth balls, and again, was on his way. He beat out every other entertainer by paying his own way to Korea to sing for the fellows at the front.

On his return, Jolson admitted that the trip had been tough, that he was weary, but most important, that he had found it fulfilling.

A month after coming back from the Far East, Al Jolson died suddenly.

We all remember him. It's a good bet, however, that the guy's he played for at the battle fronts remember him best of all... standing with his hands on his hips, smiling, hollering: "You ain't heard nothin' yet!"... And then proving it.

As Walter Winchell wrote the day of his death: "Jolson's most essential living quality was his glorious voice – and it well never be stilled." – Burt Korall

At Sundown
Peg O' My Heart
– And Mine
Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On Saturday Night
I Wonder What's Become Of Sally
Chinatown My Chinatown
What'll I Do
Medley: My Melancholy Baby/My Blue Horizon
A Fellow Needs A Girl
Hannah In Savannah
I Got Lucky In The Rain
Remember Mother's Day

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