Off Topic Messages

Helen Forrest - my favourite female voice ever!

Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:47 pm

My sweet Lord, I don't care how many female singers i have heard in my life and how many I'll hear, Helen Forrest will always be the best one to ever filter into my ears. Makes me melt!!

Helen Forrest.jpg


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I especially love her 1930s work with the Artie Shaw Orchestra.
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Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:17 pm

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Last edited by Mister Moon on Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Re: Helen Forrest - my favourite female voice ever!

Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:04 am

I first discovered Helen when I was a kid. I had the huge cassette collection of the 21st September 1939 complete broadcast day from WJSV Washington. Part of Arthur Godrey's amazing breakfast show "SUNDIAL" features him playing "Day In, Day Out" ... "..a new one from Artie Shaw...". I went all over looking for a 78rpm of it and finally found a copy in Leeds! I then discovered the featured vocalist was Helen Forrest and I sought her material afterwards.

The band were unreal and Helen has a certain something that I can't describe. It gives me goose skin - just makes me melt. I also love Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee, Ginny Simms and Georgia Gibbs among others - but Helen just oozes quality.

I have some rare transciption discs of her appearances on the Armed Forces Radio Service show "Personal Album" and her talking voice and personality is equally wonderful.

Singers of the war and pre-war era had a purity that seems lost with the 50s and beyond. I always go back to that era when I want absolute musical perfection to sooth the soul.

Re: Helen Forrest - my favourite female voice ever!

Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:41 am

Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:
Singers of the war and pre-war era had a purity that seems lost with the 50s and beyond. I always go back to that era when I want absolute musical perfection to sooth the soul.



Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Patti Page, Andrews Sisters, Kay Starr, Rosemary Clooney, Julie London, Vera Lynn, Sarah Vaughn, Gogi Grant, Margaret Whiting, Etta James also come to mind from that era. They sure don't make em like they used to.

Here's one from Vera Lynn..."We'll Meet Again". Lovely.


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Re: Helen Forrest - my favourite female voice ever!

Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:09 am

Yeah, Vera has calming tones too.

I'm on the graveyard shift at the moment and it's now 4am - I am being helped through the night by Al Jolson, Helen Forrest, Dinah Shore, Dorothy Lamour (WOW!!), Dick Haymes and at present Martha Tilton.

No vocal acrobatics back then. No ad-libbing over the melody. Straight forward singing with emotion and feeling. Is it even possible for anyone to sing like this any more? I've heard many attempts by modern singers to emulate that sound and era but they never ever nail it. Same with the look. Maybe it's gone forever?

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Heavenly!!

Re: Helen Forrest - my favourite female voice ever!

Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:24 pm

Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:Yeah, Vera has calming tones too.

I'm on the graveyard shift at the moment and it's now 4am - I am being helped through the night by Al Jolson, Helen Forrest, Dinah Shore, Dorothy Lamour (WOW!!), Dick Haymes and at present Martha Tilton.

No vocal acrobatics back then. No ad-libbing over the melody. Straight forward singing with emotion and feeling. Is it even possible for anyone to sing like this any more? I've heard many attempts by modern singers to emulate that sound and era but they never ever nail it. Same with the look. Maybe it's gone forever?

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Heavenly!!


It's interesting on the new series of American Idol, Harry Connick Jr has been saying just that, and that he doesn't see appeal in acrobatics of the Mariah Carey's of this world. I tend to agree!

Re: Helen Forrest - my favourite female voice ever!

Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:34 pm

TCB-FAN wrote:
Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man wrote:
Singers of the war and pre-war era had a purity that seems lost with the 50s and beyond. I always go back to that era when I want absolute musical perfection to sooth the soul.



Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Patti Page, Andrews Sisters, Kay Starr, Rosemary Clooney, Julie London, Vera Lynn, Sarah Vaughn, Gogi Grant, Margaret Whiting, Etta James also come to mind from that era. They sure don't make em like they used to.



I don't know Forrest's work particularly, but the mid-60s and early 70s was a sad time for many of these types of singers (male and female): Doris Day, Julie London and the wonderful Jo Stafford stopped recording altogether; Sinatra would eventually "retire"; Sarah Vaughan recorded virtually nothing for five years; Ella Fitzgerald was without a permanent contract; Margaret Whiting and Patti Page recorded nothing for twenty years, Peggy Lee would never have a permanent contract again after hers ended with Capitol. The love of the American standard seemed to disappear almost overnight. Some luckily saw their careers revived later: Rosemary Clooney and Teresa Brewer returned singing jazz; Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald signed to Pablo and recorded nothing but jazz (the Sinatra-style swing arrangements were gone). Sadly, though, many of them just simply gave up recording completely, which was such a shame. Jo Stafford and Julie London were in glorious voice during brief appearances on record or stage in the late 1980s.

Re: Helen Forrest - my favourite female voice ever!

Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:16 pm

That's all very true. Even the likes of Bobby Darin had to switch to other styles (soul, folk etc) in order to stay popular. It's weird how this happened, especially when most of these singers were probably at their most mature during that period.

I never tire of the 30s-40s music. It really presents melodies at their very best and the big bands were never more impressive.

Re: Helen Forrest - my favourite female voice ever!

Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:32 am

Just surfing again looking for some moving pictures of Helen.

Here she is with the fabulous Harry James (Gabriel blow your horn!!). Never ceases to amaze me. What an hypnotic voice.

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