Ethel Merman

The Ethel Merman Disco Album

This reissue of Merman’s 1979 disco album on A&M Records is being treated as a novelty record, but that’s missing a big point: Ethel Merman could sing. Check out Razor & Tie’s The Ethel Merman Collection if you doubt that. Although not all of the tunes on this album lend themselves to an arrangement that includes a relentless disco beat—most notably “For the Boys,” which is a real dog—several of her showstoppers make for great dance tunes. Of course, for those who care for neither disco nor show tunes, these songs would be a colossal waste of time. But Merman’s dance-friendly version of “I Get a Kick Out of You” will make dancing queens very happy, and “There’s No Business Like Show Business” brought back many fond memories of a gay bar in Des Moines, Iowa, called The Question Mark, where the deejay was very fond of übercamp—or is it überkitsch?—like this.