The first great Holiday album from Patti Page – a mid 50s Mercury album that brought together a host of seasonal recordings made by the singer – most of which show a side of Patti that's a bit different than her hits! Page's vocals here have a straight, expressive feel – respectful to the material, and a lot less likely to move into gimmicky pop moments – a vibe that's right up there with Rosemary Clooney at the same time, especially in the way that Patti's got this warm glow to her presentation of the lyrics. The music is somewhat overlooked, both in the Christmas cannon and in Page's own catalog – which makes it a nice discovery, too. Titles include "The First Noel", "Jingle Bells", "Silent Night", "Pretty Snowflakes", "Christmas Choir", "I Wanna Go Skating With Willie", "Where Did My Snowman Go", and "Christmas Bells". CD features bonus tracks, too – including "Little Donkey", "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus", "Home For The Holidays", "The Christmas Song", and a special "Christmas Greetings From Patti". (Holiday Music, Vocalists)CD
2 very obscure sessions from vocalist Helen Merrill – both recorded in Tokyo during the early 60s! The first half of the CD is from the album Helen Merrill In Tokyo – a wonderful small combo set arranged by drummer Takeshi Inomata, played by a combo that includes alto, baritone, and trumpet – all used in a cool and laidback mode that resonates nicely with Merrill's more familiar 50s sides on Mercury. Helen's in great form vocally – often singing in that almost-effortless mode that we love in her classic work – and titles include "It Never Entered My Mind", "Bewitched", "You Do Something To Me", "Teach Me Tonight", "Good Morning Heartache", and "My Favorite Things". Next up are 12 more tracks from Helen Merrill Sings Folk – a rare entry in the "jazz meets folk" style that was popular in the early 60s, and which is done here with a nice degree of subtlety. The tunes are all from folk sources, but get some gentle jazz reworkings by arrangers Norio Maeda and Masao Yogi – hardly folksy at all in their instrumentation, but spare and spacious enough to let Merrill dominate the tunes as if she were working alone. Highlights include 2 great Japanese folk tunes – "Lullaby Of Chugoku-Chiho" and "Lullaby Of Itsuki" – and other tracks include "Donna Donna", "Black Is The Color", "Motherless Child", and "Wayfarin Stranger". CD
Sarah Vaughan definitely earns her divine nickname here – singing sublimely here in a warmly jazzy setting from her early years at Roulette Records! The style's a nice extension of Vaughan's best sides at Mercury – and is almost a nice back-to-basics approach, the kind of reminder that Sarah always sounds best when she's heard at her jazziest – as on this album, with arrangements and piano from Jimmy Jones, and some great trumpet lines from Harry Edison! The sound is often nicely spare and laidback – letting Vaughan's vocals really come up strongly in the mix, and flow with a tremendously natural, but creatively dynamic style that really leaves us breathless. Titles include "Have You Met Miss Jones", "Somebody Else's Dream", "What Do You See In Her", "Jump For Joy", "Ain't No Use", "I'm Gonna Laugh You Out Of My Life", and "When Your Lover Has Gone". CD
The title's no lie – as the album has Sarah Vaughan exploding out right from the very first note – really swinging with Benny Carter arrangements that are filled with playful colors and grooves! The style's different than some of the moodier, mellow albums that Vaughan cut at the time – maybe a bit more like some of the sounds she'd cut for Mercury later in the 60s – and that undeniable Sarah Vaughan style comes through wonderfully next to Carter's creative charts – that sense of inflection and extension that makes each word of a tune almost feel more like an instrumental performance than a vocal one! Titles include "I Believe In You", "Moonlight On The Ganges", "The Lady's In Love With You", "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "Garden In The Rain", "Nobody Else But Me", "Great Day", and "I'm Gonna Live Until I Die". CD
Dinah Washington —
Drinking Again ... CD Roulette/Warner (Japan), Early 60s. New Copy ...
About January 25, 2017
A great album by Dinah, and one that cuts past the sleepy standards and doleful pop of her Mercury recordings. This one's a mature, smoky album of boozing and sorrow, with lush arrangements by Don Costa that perfectly offset the time-hardened quality of Dinah's unique voice. The title cut "Drinking Again" is a great one, and the album's got lots of other nice moments like "I Don't Know You Anymore", "On The Street Of Regret", "The Man That Got Away", and "I'm Gonna Laugh You Out Of My Life". CD