A key link in the early career of Blossom Dearie – and a fab album of jazzy vocal tracks throughout! Before Blossom recorded some of her 50s sides for Verve in the US, she was living in France and working with The Blue Stars – a cool male/female jazz vocal group that went onto become the prototype for later acts like The Swingle Singers, Lambert Hendricks & Ross, and Les Double Six! This 1954 album by the group was actually a minor hit in the US, where their swinging harmony version of "Lullaby Of Birdland" crept up the charts for a few weeks. The album's even cooler than the hit, though, and has lots of groovy jazz vocal tracks in French, with the sort of vocalese harmony scatting that you probably already know from the more famous groups mentioned above. You can always pick out Blossom's distinctive voice in the group, but the real strength is the groovy group vocals – shining beautifully in one of the first great recordings of vocalese harmony! Tracks include "Gina", "Embrasse Moi Bien", "La Danse Du Baiser", "Toute Ma Joie", and a version of "Mister Sandman" that's been renamed "Mister L'Amour". CD
An obscure bit of LA pop from the early 70s – featuring the breathy Paige Claire, a heavenly vocalist with a sound like a porn star! The album's got arrangements by Al Capps and Harry Betts, and kind of an early 70s easy sound to it that works wonderfully with Paige's voice. She's a better singer than you'd think – although it's hard to figure out why, we just like her sound a lot. The songs on the record are kind of like mellow vocal gems from obscure 70s soundtracks – the sorts that are written very well, but which never made it as big hits. Titles include "Just A Little Lovin (Early In The Morning)", "I Will Love You", "You Say I Should Forget", "It Was Always You", "I'm Back Where I Started With You", and "Paint My World Blue". CD
One of the more obscure albums from Connie Francis' strong 60s run on Mercury – and one of the best, too! Francis begins the album almost as a country singer – working a bit of Patsy Cline blueness into the record alongside Nashville-style piano lines. And as things progress, there's a bit more pop in the mix – but Francis still has this rich style that's surprisingly expressive, even when carefully balanced – way more than we remember from some of her crossover pop hits. We're not sure who handled arrangements, but the mix of rhythms, piano, and even sometime backing vocals definitely show a Nashville vibe – and titles include "Second Hand Love", "Dreamboat", "Breakin In A Brand New Broken Heart", "It Happened Last Night", "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You", and "Gonna Git That Man". CD
Lennon Sisters —
Today ... CD Mercury (Japan), 1968. New Copy ...
The Lennon Sisters get groovy – as you might guess from the "Today" title, and from the set of cool 60s covers they perform on the set! The sound here is quite far from Lawrence Welk on Sunday night, and the girls sound great with fab 60s arrangements from Al Capps, and some top-shelf production from the legendary Snuff Garrett – both of whom clearly had a big hand in helping the quartet shake off the cobwebs from years past! There's a slight Sunshine Pop appeal to the record, and titles include "Elusive Butterfly", "Different Drum", "It Must Be Him", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "California Dreamin", and "Have You Heard". CD
A sweet little album that serves up exactly what it promises in the title – a set of 60s pop tunes, all reworked by the jazz vocal artistry of Sarah Vaughan! The set's one of the most upbeat and bouncy that Vaguhan cut during the decade – and although you might know some of the tunes from the hit versions on oldies stations, Sarah's takes on the tracks are completely unique – very personal and transformative, especially since she's stretching out a lot more vocally than the famous singers of the songs. Luchi De Jesus handled the arrangements – and titles include "Make It Easy On Yourself", "Yesterday", "Little Hands", "Waltz For Debbie", "First Thing Every Morning", "He Touched Me", and "I Know A Place". CD
Rare live work from Ernestine Anderson – recorded in Seattle during the same early 60s stretch when Anderson was recording for Mercury Records! The performance is quite different than the Anderson of later years – more jazz overall, and maybe a bit more composed – with less of the bluesy inflections that Ernestine opened up during her rise to fame on Concord Records, and maybe more of a cool, classy style that reminds us a bit of Sarah Vaughan on her great live sides for Mercury. The tracks are relatively short, but phrased wonderfully – and backing is by a small combo, led by pianist Dick Palombi – on titles that include "Angel Eyes", "It Could Happen To You", "On Green Dolphin Street", "Time After Time", "Just In Time", and "I Fall In Love Too Easily". CD