At this point in the show biz music game, Vikki Carr is one of the remaining Living Legends from what I consider to be the Golden Age of American Recording. Because of her stature as such an artist, the fact that we are allowed to purchase and play something that long has been languishing in the vaults is reason enough to celebrate with a multiple star rating.
First of all, the "Love Again" collection is almost like having two separate albums. The much discussed "first album" on this CD is a previously unreleased country album from 1975. Based on Vikki's previous lovely forays into country while on the Liberty label, it's only natural that she, as a Columbia artist in the 70's, would make a visit to the Quonset Hut studio in Nashville where other artists (such as Tammy Wynette, Jody Miller, Charlie Rich, Johnny Paycheck) were cutting 70's radio chart hits. It's quite fascinating to hear Vikki's interpretive approach to the material that she recorded in Nashville at that time. For certain, Vikki experiments with period pieces of the mid-70's, but in the midst of this, there is some wonderfully singable material such as the upbeat "I Finally Got It Right This Time" and the lover's lament "Lyin' in My Arms." Vikki has always had an engaging quality of vulnerability to her voice, and it is in full flower on some of these pared down arrangements. One of the most affecting tracks is Vikki's world weary "blue smoke" take on the country and western Willie Nelson penned standard, "The Night Life." The spare backing of the jazz-tinged guitar next to Vikki's "late night" rendering of this classic is riveting. Another favorite of mine from the country sessions here is a very pretty tune called "Spending All My Now Loving You." The beautiful open sound of the major seventh acoustic guitar chords creates a mellow, breezy backdrop for Vikki's heartfelt reading of this tune. Seriously, don't ignore this one. It's got a certain sweetness and sadness to it that I still can't quite articulate.
The remaining tracks on the CD will seem like more familiar territory to the average Vikki Carr listener. The "barn burner" on here is "If Only You Will Wait For Me." I hear Vikki channeling her inner Judy Garland on this one. It is just full of all of the pathos and grandeur that many fans have come to love and expect from Vikki. Another standout for me is the exquisite Spanish language tune "Che Sera," which certainly sounds like an extra track from the 1972 "En Espanol" sessions. I'd recognize a stunning Bob Florence arrangement anywhere, and Vikki's heartfelt delivery of this song (and others from this Spanish language phase) are a large part of what makes those recordings extremely compelling to this very day, forty plus years later. In a word, "Che Sera" is magnificent. One more track I'd like to mention is "Loving In My Soul." This is one of those semi-inspirational tunes that was quite prevalent in the late 60's and early 70's, and Vikki just nails it, with an approach that mixes the inspirational and the sensual ( "candy in my kitchen") with delicious results. I encourage you to order a copy of this album today and enjoy a sweet delight, courtesy of the art and artistry of Miss Vikki Carr.