February 9, 2006 Library of Congress Announces Release of "Hugh Martin Sings"
Martin Composed Music and Lyrics for “Meet Me in St. Louis”
Press Contact: Trish Taylor Shuman (202) 707-1940
A newly released 19-track CD featuring the performances and compositions of acclaimed singer and songwriter Hugh Martin. Martin is the composer-lyricist most famous for the songs he wrote for the MGM musical “Meet Me in St. Louis.” These well-known songs include “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “The Trolley Song” and “The Boy Next Door.”
Martin is equally adept as a songwriter, arranger, pianist and singer. This album is part of the continuing Songwriter Series recording project featuring performances by the songs’ composers. Martin also wrote songs for several Broadway musicals, including “Best Foot Forward” and “Look, Ma, I’m Dancin’.” He was the vocal arranger for musicals by Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, and he was a member of the swing vocal quartet the Martins.
This collection is the seventh CD in the Songwriter Series and the fourth with the Library of Congress’ involvement, yet is the first time working with a living songwriter. Martin not only provided most of the recordings from his own collection of rare acetates and tapes, but he also provided reminiscences for the liner notes and even made a new recording of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” just for this album. In addition to songs written by him, or with collaborator Ralph Blane, several tracks written by other songwriters, featuring Martin’s vocal arrangements, are included. The CD is packaged with a 32-page booklet, including lyrics and photographs. It should be noted that, while most songwriters are excellent at interpreting their own works, they are often less-than-wonderful vocalists; Martin is that rare exception who is equally adept as a singer as well as a songwriter, arranger and pianist.
“Hugh Martin Sings” is available at the PS Classics Inc. Web site, at www.psclassics.org and at specialty stores. The CD was produced by Songwriter Series producer Steve Nelson, in cooperation with Martin, and supervised by Elizabeth Auman and Mark Horowitz of the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Much of the financial support for the Songwriter Series comes from the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust for the Benefit of the Library of Congress.
The Songwriter Series albums – first released in 1994 and drawn primarily from private recordings and radio appearances – have included songwriters Irving Berlin, “Yip” Harburg, Cole Porter, Frank Loesser and Sammy Fain performing their own works. This is the first album in the series to be released on the PS Classics Inc. label, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the American musical. PS Classics Inc. is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2002 by Philip Chaffin and Tommy Krasker, who also run the Grammy-nominated commercial record label PS Classics LLC.