In the 1950s, Les Paul and Mary Ford had 16 No. 1 hits, including "How High the Moon." They sold more than six million records in all and had their own radio and television shows. At the height of the duo's fame, Capitol Records issued a collection of sixteen songs on a 12" LP called Les And Mary. The album, released in April 1955, brilliantly captures the range of their repertoire.
On Les And Mary, Paul used many of his groundbreaking techniques as the duo covered popular music standards (Cole Porter's "Just One Of Those Things" and the 1927 song "The Best Things In Life Are Free," which had enjoyed a post-war revival); gospel songs ("Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"); and country music (Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On"). "Farewell For Just A While" was described on the 1955 album sleeve as a "traditional Tahitian melody," while there is also a charming version of the Rodgers and Hart tune "Falling In Love With Love." Les and Mary were astute in their song selections, as in the crowd-pleasing Shelton Brooks hit "Some Of These Days," a track which demonstrates the ease with which singer and guitarist could swing together.
There were also six instrumentals on the album: "Turista"; the jazz ragtime classic "Twelfth Street Rag"; "Moritat" (the theme for The Threepenny Opera, which is also the melody for "Mack The Knife"); and the Jimmy McHugh classic "On The Sunny Side Of the Street." The Brazilian samba of the two-minute "Tico Tico" exemplifies Paul's skill as an improviser, while the biggest curiosity is perhaps "Dangerous Curves," a tune written for a play staged at the Garrick Theatre in London in 1953. Two years later Paul recorded a sweet instrumental version for Les And Mary, which stayed in the Billboard album charts for six weeks, peaking at No. 15. Reissued on standard weight vinyl in celebration of Capitol Records' 75th anniversary.