Born Selma Segal in 1927 in Clayton, New Jersey but raised in Philadelphia, Sunny gained vocal experience by performing at weddings, dances, parties etc. and soon featured as a band singer with the Hal McIntyre Orchestra before teaming with the Eddie Wilcox Orchestra for THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE waxed for a small independent record company in 1951. Whilst surpassed by Kay Starr's Capitol Records #1 cover version plus other competing covers by Dinah Washington, Bobby Wayne, The Bell Sisters and The Cardinals, Sunny still managed to peak at #13 Pop Charts and #2 on the R&B Charts. Unfortunately, that version of Sunny's ground-breaking debut disc is not included on this Jasmine anthology which supercedes it with her 1958 Decca remake. However, it does us all a favour by seeking out no fewer than fifty-five additional tracks to fill this excellent double-disc set and is particularly welcome as there are few compilations of Sunny's work otherwise available.
As one of the numerous chirpy Fifties songbirds, her direct approach to lyrics compares with that of Dinah Washington but Sunny's more pop appeal lends itself to material intended to invade the Charts, with RCA-Victor (1952-1956) promoting her many early singles and CONSTANTLY, A LITTLE YOU, CERTAINLY BABY, SOLDIER BOY, I LAUGHED AT LOVE, FATHER TIME, TEARDROPS ON MY PILLOW, LOVE ME AGAIN, BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE, GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART GOODNIGHT and AN OLD FAMILIAR LOVE SONG are popular choices. With the advent of rock 'n roll, Sunny's contributions continued with the much-covered LET ME GO LOVER (#17) plus UNSUSPECTING HEART (#14), CEST LA VIE, ROCK AND ROLL WEDDING, WINNER TAKE ALL and updated oldie JUST FRIENDS. Often backed by the orchestras of Hugo Winterhalter, Ralph Burns, Joe Reisman etc, Sunny's ballads are either dramatically strident - IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW, A NOTE IN THE BOTTLE, smoothly country-styled LOOKING GLASS, A STOLEN WALTZ, CALL OFF THE WEDDING or catchy novelty numbers - I DON'T WANT YOUR GREENBACK DOLLARS, CHURCH BELLS MAY RING, THREE O'CLOCK and Leiber & Stoller's ONE KISS TO ANOTHER, whilst SEND MY BABY BACK TO ME and MAMA'S GONE GOODBYE represent up-tempo offerings. Tracks from Sunny's 1956 album SUNNY AND BLUE are also scattered over the two discs and include standards EAST OF THE SUN, MAD ABOUT THE BOY and I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH ME.
On the face of it, Sunny's chosen professional name may seem to be a contradiction in terms but it perfectly describes the smile in her voice plus the ability to add stridency to her recordings as necessary just like any force of nature. With her career apparently continuing into the '70s and recordings for many labels including Decca, she has since disappeared from view.
Regretably the tracks have not been chronologically placed, with the above-listed songs randomly tossed into the mix without recording dates. Otherwise, Jasmine's usual remastering and presentation make this release a notable addition to their catalogue and will prove irresistible to collectors of notable Fifties girl singers.