Thursday, December 27, 2012


Maxene Andrews had the extraordinary good fortune to be one third of the "Andrews Sisters" singing act. She also had the distinct misfortune to be in the shadow of that "Andrews Sisters" act and her sister Patty's splendid center-stage persona and showbiz brilliance. However, Maxene emerged in the later years of her career as a vibrant singer in her own right.

The Andrews Sisters broke up in the late 1960s after Laverne Andrews died in 1967. In 1970 Maxene became dean of women at Tahoe Paradise College of Fine Arts, Lake Tahoe, Nev., and she eventually became its vice president.Following the reunion of Patty and Maxene in the 1974 Broadway musical, "Over Here!", Maxene blossomed into a terrific solo performer as she aged with grace and beauty and made many appearances as a solo performer to the end of her life in 1995. I had the pleasure of seeing Maxene perform in person around 1988, and she truly had the voice to be a great solo artist.

This studio album contains recordings from her solo concert material that she recorded in 1985.  I enjoyed many of the tracks on the CD, but a few of them I listened to and began to miss the other two sisters. The Andrews Sisters medley was too short, and the echo that was used with Maxene's voice made it sound like they were trying to recapture the trio's sound. I have to be honest that I did not care for it much. However, a full version of Ïn Apple Blossom Time" was truly beautiful. One great song from "Over Here!" is revived: "Where Did the Good Times Go?" The finest moments are probably the exquisite versions of two Irving Berlin songs, "Remember" and "How Deep is the Ocean?" The ballads Maxene sang the best. In my opinion though the recording that I looked foward to hearing most, "Fascinating Rhythm" was probably the worst arranged of the whole album, and the biggest letdown.

All in all, this was a very good album for someone who lived in the shadows of a singing group for close to forty years. I would have liked to have heard Maxene as a solo artist in the 1950s and 1960s, but her voice was surprisingly vibrant on the recordings. With hindsight, this is a poignant farewell of twelve solo tracks from this Andrews Sister.

1. I Suppose
2. Mama Llama
3. Where Did The Good Times Go?
4. Medley: Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen/Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree/Pennsylvania Polka /Beer Barrel Polka
5. How Deep Is The Ocean?
6. Show Me The Way To Go Home
7. In Apple Blossom Time
8. You're My Everything 
9. Sweet And Slow
10. Nature's Toys
11. Remember
12. Fascinating Rhythm

my rating: 7 out of 10

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