A gem of a set from a singer who should have been much bigger back in the 50s – served up with the same sort of small combo backings you'd get on the Chris Connor albums for Bethlehem! Marlene Cord is a hell of a singer on her own – with a voice that's never hokey, yet full of feeling – and able to inflect things with a knowledge of jazz, but in ways that never go too far over the top – just perfectly balanced with a subtle power that's really amazing. Yet she sounds even better alongside the music on the date – creative Chicago backings from a quartet that features Dick Marx on piano, Johnny Frigo on bass, Mike Simpson on flute, and Jerry Slosberg on drums. The flute's an especially great element – underscoring the vocals with some great blue tones – and titles include "I'm Thru With Love", "I Remember You", "I Got It Bad", "Lights Out", and "This Love Of Mine". CD
Frank Sinatra's first run of Christmas work – material recorded for Columbia Records in the late 40s, but quite similar to his better-known Holiday sides for Capitol in the 50s! As with that work, the style here is quite respectful of the spirit of the season – more reverent than playful, although always with an undercurrent of sadness that makes the tunes especially nice – that Christmas longing that would show up in the best Holiday records, which Sinatra always seemed to get. Heck, even the version of "Jingle Bells" sounds a bit melancholy – and pretty darn nice, too – next to tunes that include "Christmas Dreaming", "Winter Wonderland", "Let It Snow", "Santa Claus Is Comin To Town", and "White Christmas" – plus a medley of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem/Joy To The World/White Christmas", which begins with a cool spoken introduction. (Holiday Music, Vocalists)CD
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