Let's Fly With Mary Poppins

Louis Prima / Gia Maione

Buena Vista / Walt Disney Records, 1998


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


We'll start this review with two admissions. Admission number one: I am not that familiar with Louis Prima. In fact, the last time I had heard him was back when I was about 13 years old, and The Disney Channel was added to basic cable in our household. A program, "DTV," played "That Old Black Magic" done by Prima and another singer with cartoons playing in the background. Obviously, it's been a long time since I saw that video, so I plead total ignorance on Prima.

Admission number two: Despite the fact I once owned the Mary Poppins soundtrack as a child, notwithstanding the fact this was once the most popular soundtrack of all time, I don't understand the fascination with the music from this movie. Burl Ives covered some of the songs from this movie (on an album we reviewed a few weeks ago), and now I'm presented with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Let's Fly With Mary Poppins, an album of songs from the movie performed by Prima with his wife Gia Maione. (If this isn't enough, I now have the re-issued soundtrack of Mary Poppins sent to me from Disney to review. Guess I'd better rent the video.)

This album (part of Disney's Archive Collection reissue series), first released in 1965, does show off Prima's scat singing well, such as on "Chim Chim Cher-ee," a song that builds up from a slow, gentle start into a more jazzy version. Likewise, "Stay Awake" shows off a more subdued side to Prima's vocals. To Maione's credit, songs like "Feed The Birds" and "Sister Suffragette" demonstrate her vocal capabilities well (though she should have lost the Cockney accent on "Sister Suffragette" - she only used it for part of the song anyway).

For all its strengths, though, Let's Fly With Mary Poppins has some flaws. Why two Italian versions of songs were included on this album I have no clue, and the alternative versions of "Stay Awake" (scat-jazz in Italian? I don't think so) and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (brother, don't try running that through the spell-checker) could have been dropped. (Then again, this disc only clocks in at 27 minutes, and the tracks do pad it out a little more.) And while "I Love To Laugh" is not a bad track, the forced laughter of Maione is just annoying - you can tell it's faked, which makes it unbearable. Oh, well.

The few duets between Prima and Maione are spotty. "Jolly Holiday" is a decent enough number (in which they have to partially re-write the lyrics to fit each other's names in), but "Supercali...." oh, whatever... and "The Perfect Nanny" are nothing special.

Let's Fly With Mary Poppins is a disc that will most likely please the diehard Mary Poppins fans, but the disc itself does have limited appeal - even for fans of Prima's work.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Buena Vista / Walt Disney Records, and is used for informational purposes only.