When Ella Fitzgerald joined Verve Records in 1955, the 38-year-old singer was best known for a single hit (“A-Tisket, A-Tasket”), her bop-inspired scat singing, and a stack of mostly forgettable recordings. Her manager (and Verve-founder) Norman Granz would quickly correct course. Beginning with the Cole Porter Song Book, Fitzgerald would record, among many other superb Verve releases, the first of eight landmark albums devoted to America’s finest songsmiths. The Rodgers and Hart Song Book is the first of Fitzgerald’s Verves to receive the 45rpm treatment from ORG. Mastered by Bernie Grundman, the sound is superb. Fitzgerald’s pure voice and impeccable diction—on tongue twisters like “I Wish I Were In Love Again”—are beautifully captured. She’s front and center, with halos of air surrounding her voice, and band laid out behind her on a large soundstage. Strings are exceptionally lush, while the brass can be punchy and raucous (“This Can’t Be Love”), as well as plush and creamy, as on “You Took Advantage Of Me,” where the bass is as rooted as a stately oak, and the kick drum delivers notable weight and wallop. A hint if needed: only 2500 sets were pressed.