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Jubilee 1954-1959
Jubilee 1954-1959
Offered by music_by_mail_uk
Price: £12.43

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Essential, 15 May 2009
This review is from: Jubilee 1954-1959 (Audio CD)
As the title says, this CD is absolutely essential to all Della Reese fans. This collection spans her early years at Jubilee Records, from 1954 to 1959. Della was an upcoming superstar, and her very first single (a breezy version of Cole Porter's "In the Still of the Night") sold 500,000 copies, and that is where this collections begins. The compilers did an AMAZING job at collecting the orignal master tapes, and by the grace of God, they managed to dig up almost every single A and B side she recorded for the label. Della is perhaps best known for taking classic music pieces and adapting them into contemporary pop tunes, but this collection shows a much broader range and diversity of her considerable talents. When you have people like Dinah, Sarah and Ella breathing down your neck, you have to make yourself stand out, so a lot of the arrangements are completely unique, and different. Della recorded one of the first versions of "I've Got My Love to Keep Warm", which she made completely her own with its frantic pace. Many of these cuts had never been released on CD before, and as the excellent liner notes point out, it wasn't exactly easy to dig up many of these lost recordings. Her gold, million-selling hit, "And That Reminds Me" (Billboard Hot 100 #12), remains a clsssic, but it is far from being the most interesting cut on this album, which is saying something. Check out the incredible "In the Meantime", and the sassy "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'". Another highlight is her swinging rendition of "Once upon a Dream", from Sleeping Beauty. The sound is absolutely amazing, and the art work is beautiful, so kudos to the compilers for putting so much effort, love, and care, into this project.


Della On Stage/At Basin Street East
Della On Stage/At Basin Street East

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Amazing Performances!, 25 April 2009
Della Reese - "On Stage" - RCA Victor, 1962

Della enters the stage, and the sound of the thundering applause is enough to make your eardrums burst. Della is in amazing form, and she wails her way through "Comes Once in a Lifetime", and afterwards the deliciously jazzy "Bye Bye Blackbird". Della is not as well-known in the UK, but you can think of her as kinda like an American counterpart to Shirley Bassey. Her voice: strong, powerful, and in total control. Her diction is near perfect, and nobody had a vibrato like that. On the third song, "Misty", she controls her voice with startling perfection, and she turns Erroll Garner's classic into something completely her own. Another example of her total control can be heard in the spiritual and lovely "His Eye Is on the Sparrow", in which she never skips a beat. The orchestra is tight, and they swing on a-long with Della, in what makes a fantastic evening. She closes the show with an absolutely beautiful song from Camelot, "If Ever I Would Leave You", and brings down the house with a ferocious rendition of "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You).

Della Reese - "At Basin Street East" - RCA Victor, 1964

Della on fire. Right from the opener, she swings her way through and never stops, until the fifth song. Hold on. Let's go back. Della's performance at Basin Street East is an eclectic performance that will leave the rest and the best of them miles behind. Her final album for a very successful stint at RCA Victor is a fine way to end an era. She doesn't sing a whole lot of ballads, and sticks to the swinging tunes, as if to say: "Hey, look at me, I've still got it!" And she sure does. But, her best moments comes with the tenderness of "Don't Take Your Love from Me", which is an absolutely stunning take. She wraps her pipes around the words, tenderly, softly, but always in total control. After a swinging version of the classic "Chicago", she ends the show with a tender, and naked version of her hit "And Now", which she ends with a beautiful "Goodbyyye!!". One small complaint is the editing, and the exclusion of her biggest hit "Don't You Know", which she DID perform, but for some reason didn't make it on the album.


Della & the Duke
Della & the Duke
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £6.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two of the Greats!, 21 April 2009
This review is from: Della & the Duke (Audio CD)
Acrobat Music somehow managed to dig up a couple of historical performances that had been collecting dust since their original broadcast nearly fifty years ago. I find it amazing how little effort it takes to dig up performances like these, that is, if someone actually cares, which thankfully, Acrobat does. But can you imagine if they didn't? These performances would probably have been lost in time.

This particular session was recorded on February 13th, 1962, in New York City, and was hosted by the borish, exasperating, radio host Martin Block. His constant, mindless chatter is equalled by the terrible and scripted dialogues, which finds Della and Duke engaged in conversation with that man. It almost feels like an orgasm when the music finally begins to play, and when that happens, you will truly find yourself in Heaven. Della is in fantastic voice, and with her perfect diction, and perfectly controlled vibrato, she makes her way through standards such as "Bye, Bye Blackbird" and "Comes Once in a Lifetime", and her own million-seller hits "And That Reminds Me" and "Don't You Know". A highlight is when she tackles Chopin's "Etude in E", in which she hits a truly incredible note towards the end. She is truly a joy to listen to. Duke and his orchestra is tight, and they pull together a fine show as well.

So, kudos to Acrobat for making this rare performance available for the first time. You might want to check out another similar release, which finds Sarah Vaughan teamed up with Woody Herman for another session broadcasted in 1963. It is definitely a gem as well.


The Best Thing for You
The Best Thing for You
Price: £9.38

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Thing for YOU, 12 Feb 2009
This review is from: The Best Thing for You (Audio CD)
In an age where giants like Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae were dominating the Jazz scene, young Della had to find her own place among these legends.

These performances showcase her incredible abilities as a performer. On track one to seven, Della is back by the Dick Stabile Orchestra, and the rest are by the John Cotter Orchestra. But, to be honest, all of the tracks blend together as if they were conducted by one person.

Della is in fine form, and she traverses through many different genres. Her amazing phrasing is startling on songs like "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and the Julie Andrews classic "I Could Have Danced All Night". Della never did anything after the books, and the songs she chose were often strange. "Keep Smiling at Trouble" is an awkward tune, but Della works her magic on it. "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have" is a peculiar saloon song by Marlene Dietrich from the movie "Destry Rides Again" from 1939, but Della swings it like Marlene Dietrich could only have dreamed of ever doing. "My Man" and "But Not for Me" are given a Jazz treatment, and Della works them over to grand effect. The best track on the album is her startling performance of the song "If Ever I Would Leave" from Camelot. Robert Goulet, this is how this song should be sung! Included, are of course her signature songs "Don't You Know", which is given a bluesy makeover, and "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey".

If you're just getting into Della Reese, this album is highly recommendable.

Highlights: "If Ever I Would Leave You", "I Could Have Danced All Night", "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have" and "My Man".


On the Radio: The 1962 Live Guard Sessions (Ocrd)
On the Radio: The 1962 Live Guard Sessions (Ocrd)
Price: £3.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Della and the Duke, 10 Feb 2009
Sounds like a match made in Heaven, and it is. But the poor sound is hard to get past, and it is such a shame. This "live" radio session is nearly 50 years old, so I guess the sound quality is forgiveable. This album alternates bewteen performances by Duke Ellington and his orchestra, and Duke Ellington with Della Reese on vocals. None of these two needs any introductions, and they pull together a fine show with many classics associated with both of them. Duke performs his signature hits "Take the A Train" and "Mood Indigo", and Della performs her million-seller hits "And That Reminds Me" and "Don't You Know". Together they make magic, and I am grateful that this magical moment have been preserved. A small complaint is the radio host Martin Block. He may have been popular in the States, but I find him to be annoying and somewhat rude to both Duke and Della. But, if you can get past these small quibbles, this set should satisfy anyone who have given up on today's music scene, and are longing for a time when and where music meant something.

Highlights: "Don't You Know", "Chopin's Etude in E", "And That Reminds Me" and "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey".


And Winter Came
And Winter Came
Price: £8.99

17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting December, 11 Nov 2008
This review is from: And Winter Came (Audio CD)
I must admit that I haven't been too keen on Enya's last couple of albums. I found them to be stagnate, and especially her last "Amarantine". But this album is a nice return to form.

Enya's been dabbling with the idea of releasing a full-fledged Christmas/winter-themed album for years now, and now, here it is. "And Winter Came" is indeed a beautiful effort from Enya. As always, the music is enchanting and very atmospheric, but that is also its Achilles' heel. As easy as it is to be swept away by the sheer beauty of it all, it is unfortunately just as easy to get lost along the way, too.

For me, Enya is at her best when her soul shines through all of the production gloss. "Trains and Winter Rains" is basically just "Orinoco Flow", "Caribbean Blue", "Anywhere Is", "Only Time" and "Amarantine" in winter disguise. It is disturbingly similar to all of the above. The by far best tracks are the songs: "Last Time by Moonlight", "One Toy Soldier" and "The Spirit of Christmas Past", which are all Enya at her very best.

In conclusion: If you are a fan of Enya, you will love this album, just as you loved those before it. But, if you are new to Enya, or just looking for a Christmas album, this album is not likely to interest you as much as it does all of her many followers.


Angel of the American Stage
Angel of the American Stage
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £14.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird Collection of Songs, 21 Oct 2008
This is indeed a weird collection. Della Reese's entry in the American Legends series, who have also released similar compilation albums by everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Patsy Cline, is an entertaining, but strange assortment of songs. All but four tracks ("Stormy Weather", "In the Still of the Night", "My Melancholy Baby" and "I'm Nobody's Baby"), are live recordings, but the cover makes no mention of this. On top of that, it makes no mention of when the tracks are from, or from which performances they were taken, either. As for the live cuts; they're quite good. The compilers at least managed to show her diversity as an entertainer. From the bone-chilling gospel classic "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", to a bluesy rendition of her big hit "Don't You Know". The sound quality is quite good. No background noises. They all sound clean and clear. The highlight of the album is a fantastic version of her classic "Won'cha Come Home, Bill Bailey?" One more thing worth mentioning; the artwork. It's extremely beautiful. The album is worth checking out for the beautiful pictures and rare live tracks.

Highlights: "Don't You Know", "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" and "Won'cha Come Home, Bill Bailey".


Hurricane
Hurricane
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.27

55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Epic Beauty, 16 Oct 2008
This review is from: Hurricane (Audio CD)
Where did she go? After a decade of constant media exposure, and success in various of fields, she dropped off the face of the planet after she starred with Eddie Murphy in Boomerang in 1992. Enough about the past, because she is here, and relevant as ever.

"Hurricane" is Jones' first album in almost twenty years, and was it worth the long wait? Definitely. Jones is as sharp as ever. Her greatest gift is to find the right people, and that is exactly what she has done this time around. Her old pals, Sly and Robbie, once again provides her with flawless rhythms on tracks like the bouncing reggae cut "Well Well Well", which sounds like it could have been taken straight out of Living My Life. Tricky, Brian Eno, Ivor Guest and Phillip Sheppard (look at those names!) provides her with eletronic beats, strings and all of that stuff, and it all adds up to a truly unique album. "This Is" is a lovely narrative, and "Williams' Blood" hits a litte closer to home for Grace. The song ends with a duet between her and her mother singing "Amazing Grace", of all songs.

The most personal song on the album is the truly lovely and heartbreaking narrative about her mother on "I'm Crying (Mother's Tears)", in which Grace sounds absolutely spectacular. The song also reveals what a truly wonderful human being Grace is. Forget all of the scandals, and listen to her story, and you are guaranteed to change your mind about the scary "man-eating" machine. Speaking of which, "Corporate Cannibal", was released as a teaser earlier this summer, and it's a dark and menacing song that will cut right through you. The title song was released as a promo back '98, and it's been updated with help from Tricky and an orchestra. It's a fantastic, and epic, cut, that is guaranteed to have you bouncing off the wall. "I'll be a hurricane, rippin' up trees." We believe you, Grace. The entire album is truly unique. Groovy reggae rhythms, electronic beats, and on top of that, glorious strings that will sweep you off your feet. It's truly a joy to hear the strings melt away in the songs like they do on the outstanding "Devil in My Life". The latter is quite possibly one of the best songs she's ever recorded.

As for Grace herself; she is at her best. Her singing have actually improved, as some glorious notes towards the end of "Devil in My Life" proves. She takes full advantage of her sing-speak on many of the songs, but it's a stylistic choice, and nobody does it better than her. It works better than anything on the lovely "Love You to Life", which is another highlight on the album.

So, twenty years? So what? If it takes twenty years to produce something as glorious as this record, I will happily wait another twenty years for her next album. Truly outstanding.


Amen!/What Do You Know About Love?
Amen!/What Do You Know About Love?
Offered by groove_temple
Price: £12.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Late '50s Classics, 9 Oct 2008
Della Reese - Amen! 1958, Jubilee Records

"Amen!" is Della Reese's third album for Jubilee records, and the first dedicated solely to spiritual songs. Della was discovered by the Queen herself, Mahalia Jackson, and her own strong spiritual background really helps making this album all the more sincere, and honest. Her incredibly commanding voice sweeps over these songs like something truly supernatural. "Last Mile of the Way" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" are perfect examples of her unparalled presence. She is at her best with these kind of slow and personal prayers, but equally capable of spreading joy like she does on songs like "Jesus Will Answer Your Prayer" and "Rock-a-my Soul". "Amen!" is a truly transcendentally spiritual experience.

Della Reese - What Do You Know About Love? 1959, Jubilee Records

"What Do You Know About Love?" could not be any further away from "Amen!", musically. Here we find Della Reese at her most gentle. Her fifth album is a haunting, albeit, slighty foreboding, collection of love songs. The album have a slight touch of film noir to it. The title track could've been taken straight from any noir movie, and "I Thought of You Last Night" sweeps along gently like searching ghost. The latter is a particularly haunting piece. The entire album is just so incredible. Haunting, romantic, sad, string-heavy and joyous. A bit of advice: do not listen to "What Do You Know About Love?" on a cold and dark winter's night. "What Do You Know About Love?" is quite possibly my favorite Della Reese album.


Swing Slow And Cha Cha Cha [European Import]
Swing Slow And Cha Cha Cha [European Import]

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Della Reese, 3 Oct 2008
This compilation covers the years between 1959-1964. After a stint at Jubilee records, and a million-seller hit with "And That Reminds Me" (U.S. Pop Singles #12) in 1957, Della switched record company, and had her biggest hit with "Don't You Know" (U.S. Pop Singles #2) in 1959. "Swing, Slow & Cha-Cha-Cha" does an incredible job of showcasing the many talents of the legendary Della Reese. From slow-burning, and incredibly romantic songs, "When a Woman Loves a Man" and my all-time favorite song "The Most Beautiful Words" (U.S. Pop Singles #67). The latter is such a gorgeous song. Della wraps her impeccable voice around the words, and works her magic like no one else can. Like I said, this album covers a lot of musical genres. From cha-cha-cha on "Come on-a My House" (one of her signature themes), to swinging big band music on "Let's Get Away From It All". One of her biggest hits are available on CD for the first time. "Not One Minute More" was a huge hit for Della back in 1960 (U.S. Pop Singles #16). This album is not career-spanning, but it does represent the best, and most successful period, in this amazing woman's legendary career.

Highlights: "Don't You Know", "The Most Beautiful Words", "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)" and "Not One Minute More".


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