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Music Review: Margaret Whiting – The Wheel Of Hurt [Deluxe Edition]

Margaret Whiting (1924-2011) was a major star during the pre-rock and roll era of the 1940s and early 1950s when she had close to 50 hit singles. Her commercial success waned with the advent of the rock era, but she made a comeback during the mid-’60s. She continued to perform until a year before her death.

She came from a music-oriented family as her father was one of the leading songwriters of his era, penning such classics as “Hooray for Hollywood,” “Ain’t We Got Fun,” and “On the Good Ship Lollipop.” Her father had a professional relationship with Johnny Mercer. When Mercer co-founded Capital Records during the early 1940s, she was one of the first artists he signed to the label.

After a number of years out of the limelight, she revitalized her career in 1966 with London Records. Her single “The Wheel of Hurt” reached number one on Billboard magazine’s Easy Listening chart and the album of the same name was the most successful of her career. That album has now been reissued by Real Gone Music. In addition to the original release, 13 bonus tracks have been added. There are 11 of her singles for the label, which include all of her easy listening hits, plus German versions of “The Wheel of Hurt,” and “Nothing Lasts Forever.”

Margaret Whiting was a pure pop singer in the same vein as Patti Page and Peggy Lee. The Wheel Of Hurt, with its combination of country songs and 1960s pop covers, is an excellent vehicle for her vocals. She had an ability to interpret just about any material set before her. “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “Winchester Cathedral,” “Time After Time,” and “Show Me a Man” all come across as slick and well-crafted 1960s pop.

This is one of those rare occasions where the bonus tracks are probably better than the album they support. Hits such as “Where Was I,” “Faithfully,” “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind,” “Until It’s Time for You to Go,” and “Life Goes On” are really an array of her greatest hits and they have a wonderful flow. The two German songs may be a little out of place but as they are the last two tracks, they do not detract from the overall feel of the album.

Margaret Whiting’s nearly 60-year career survived a number of musical style changes. While she remained popular on the club circuit, The Wheel Of Hurt was her final commercial hurrah. It catches her at her best as her voice and style is mature, having been honed by years of practice.

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