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A. POLLOCK (PLYMOUTH, DEVON United Kingdom)
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Four Classic Albums (Meet Betty Carter And Ray Bryant / Out There / The Modern Sound Of Betty Carter / Ray Charles And Betty Carter)
Four Classic Albums (Meet Betty Carter And Ray Bryant / Out There / The Modern Sound Of Betty Carter / Ray Charles And Betty Carter)
Price: £7.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FOUR ALBUM TRIBUTE TO JAZZ=BABE BETTY CARTER, 9 July 2014
There are jazz vocalists and singers who just nibble around the edges of the genre but Betty Carter (born Lillie Mae Jones 1929 - 1998) was definitely in the former group with her improvised idiosyncratic approach including scatting and unique swooping vocal technique developing as part of her individualistic interpretation of lyrics and melodic line. No wonder Carmen McRae was once quoted as saying "There's really only one jazz singer – only one: Betty Carter”. Influenced by Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, she never reached the pinnacle of audience acceptance enjoyed by them, Ella or Carmen but stuck to an uncompromising and more exacting abstract style which personally I found difficult to fathom at times.

I’m therefore grateful the Avid Jazz label has combined four of Betty’s early albums on two discs with 1955-released MEET BETTY CARTER AND RAY BRYANT allowing both singer and pianist to share their introductory vinyl moments and have Wendell Marshall (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums) and Jerome Richardson (flute) to accompany their efforts which are divided between the two protagonists. Betty’s THOU SWELL and CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS? are all out swingers; I COULD WRITE A BOOK a more leisurely delight and MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT performed in ballad style. Three years later OUT THERE allowed Betty full vocal reign on a dozen numbers accompanied by a large orchestra with all going to show she had honed her style to perfection. YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY, YOU’RE GETTING TO BE A HABIT WITH ME, BUT BEAUTIFUL and SOMETHING WONDERFUL are amongst familiar standards, although less-known fare BY THE BEND OF THE RIVER, BAB’S BLUES and ALL I’VE GOT allow improvisations and moments of scat.

THE MODERN SOUND OF BETTY CARTER, with arranger/conductor Dick Wess helming a brassy orchestra, was released in 1960, with Betty racing through WHAT A LITTLE MOONLIGHT CAN DO, smoothly efficient versions of FOR YOU, I DON’T WANT TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE and REMEMBER plus an exotic approach to MY REVERIE. DON’T WEEP FOR THE LADY was specially written for Betty as her tribute to Billie Holiday and other highlights include an extraordinary version of THERE’S NO YOU plus a lightly shaded MEAN TO ME. Finally, RAY CHARLES AND BETTY CARTER united the two singers for a magical set of duets, recorded during 1961, with Mart Paich and The Jack Halloran Singers in attendance. As the first album to draw my attention to Betty, it’s always been a favourite album in my collection although the occasional choral intervention now seems an unnecessary contrivance. It’s treat to hear their engaging versions of BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, SIDE BY SIDE, PEOPLE WILL SAY WE’RE IN LOVE and IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO whilst EV’RY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE equals the Ella Fitzgerald recording.

Avid’s sound remastering, budget price, excellent presentation with reproduced original album liner notes, provides everything necessary for the enjoyment and appreciation of this great jazz vocalist.


Four Classic Albums Plus (Sarah Vaughan And Billy Eckstine Sing The Best Of Irving Berlin / Billy Eckstine & Quincy Jones At Basin Street East / Basie-Eckstine Incorporated / Once More With Feeling)
Four Classic Albums Plus (Sarah Vaughan And Billy Eckstine Sing The Best Of Irving Berlin / Billy Eckstine & Quincy Jones At Basin Street East / Basie-Eckstine Incorporated / Once More With Feeling)
Price: £7.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT ECKSTINE ALBUMS FROM THE EARLY SIXTIES ARE A REAL TREAT!, 7 July 2014
Mr "B" was the first American vocalist I ever saw in concert and whilst too young to fully appreciate his immense vocal impact, I now welcome any release dedicated to this underappreciated singer's memory. After all, William Clarence Eckstine (1914-1993) was an amalgam of singer, multi-talented musician and band-leader during the be-bop and swing era, it was his distinctive smooth baritone with its uniquely controlled vibrato that launched him into the late Forties and early Fifties Hit Parade, with appealing romantic ballads ensuring he gained heart-throb status. By the early Sixties, Billy was attached to the Roulette label for a series of stereo albums imbued with imaginative orchestrations and lead by iconic leaders which befitted a singer at the height of his vocal powers.

This Avid collection has grabbed three of them with the complete BASIE/ECKSTINE INCORPORATED (1959) bringing forth a powerhouse of bluesy numbers STORMY MONDAY BLUES, JELLY JELLY and I WANT A LITTLE GIRL among its eleven tracks. Basie and Billy certainly utilised the respect they had for each other and shared sound and style reflect this meeting of equals. A year later, teamed with the great Billy May, ONCE MORE WITH FEELING, gave singer Billy the opportunity to reprise earlier hits I APOLOGISE and COTTAGE FOR SALE, although SECRET LOVE would have been newly acquired for his repertoire. Great full-blooded orchestrations are a big asset. The third Roulette album spotlights Billy with seven selections, including I’VE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO HER FACE, ’DEED I DO, LUSH LIFE and MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT from the original eleven-track NO COVER NO MINIMUM album recorded in Las Vegas during 1960 and backed by an orchestra arranged by his pianist Bobby Tucker.

The two other included albums are EmArcy’s BILLY ECKSTINE & QUINCY JONES AT BASIN STREET EAST (1961) which artfully includes two stunning medleys of his hits and salute to Duke Ellington, whilst Billy swings ALL RIGHT OK YOU WIN and MA SHE’S MAKING EYES AT ME as opening and closing choices. Teaming Sarah Vaughan with Billy for Mercury’s brilliant THE BEST OF IRVING BERLIN (1961) was revisiting old home week as the singers were old friends professionally. Being one of my favourite albums, I was disappointed two songs (THE GIRL THAT I MARRY and NOW IT CAN BE TOLD) have been omitted although ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND, CHEEK TO CHEEK and YOU’RE JUST IN LOVE are stunning duets by the pair.

Avid’s sound remastering, budget price, excellent presentation with reproduced original album liner notes, provide the necessary appeal to ensure the popularity of this release with those who appreciate great vocalists.


The Many Sides of Clare Teal
The Many Sides of Clare Teal
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars CLARE TEAL'S CLASSY VOCALS ARE WORTH RISKING A DREADED DOWNLOAD!, 7 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was not sure this would be ideal but took a chance as Clare Teal has a good vocal track record. Besides, this collection was unfortunately not available via CD so I took a chance. Possible early Teal but CALL ME, IT'S NOT UNUSUAL, and I'LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN are among pop numbers which have withstood the test of time and Clare imbues each of them with class.

Generally not keen on downloads but this one will do quite nicely!


Love Again: The Lost Columbia Masters
Love Again: The Lost Columbia Masters
Offered by MEGA Media FBA
Price: £10.92

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VIKKI'S LOST ALBUM IS TOO GOOD TO MISS!, 1 July 2014
After a successful tenure at Liberty Records where she achieved four Grammy nominations and world-wide popularity via her albums and hit singles:- WITH PEN IN HAND and IT MUST BE HIM etc; by 1970 Vikki Carr had decided a change of label might benefit her rising career. In the event, Columbia offered an attractive deal and with a series of albums and non-charting singles, all things seemed set to her advantage. However, after following the trend of established singers recreating contemporary hits by others for their album repertoire, by 1975 after the previous year‘s release of ONE HELL OF A WOMAN it was a fact Vikki‘s appeal was in decline - maybe due to her material, promotion or changing times which particularly affected the role of girl vocalists - she eventually transferred her attention towards reinforcing her popularity in Latin-America via Spanish-language recordings which continues to this day.

Lost within these challenging circumstances was an unfinished and unnamed ten-song country-flavoured collection, recorded in Nashville during September 1975. It has remained in the Columbia vaults until now and consisting of mainly original material guaranteed to stretch the singer’s emotional range. LYIN‘ IN MY ARMS, A THING CALLED SADNESS and WHO IN THE WORLD are highlights but IT’S ME AND YOU which really hit my button, as vocally Vikki’s deep vocal rendition pulls the lyrics hither and thither to great effect. In fact, of the ten songs, I only recognised the bluesy THE NIGHT LIFE; a number which appeared on a contemporary Doris Day album, LOVE HIM! during the mid-Sixties. Vikki’s version, accompanied by simple guitar is a wonderful expressive exercise with her vocal replete with an attractive edge and impressive jazzy intonation. Produced by Ron Bledsoe with whom Vikki had collaborated at Liberty on her early foray into country music, the arrangements are varied and imaginative.

Seven bonus tracks consist of other unreleased Columbia masters mainly recorded for inclusion in previous albums with THE SUN AIN’T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE, I BELIEVE IN YOU and THE END OF THE WORLD immediately familiar as having been hits for The Walker Brothers, Neil Young and Skeeter Davis respectively whilst CHE SERA survived as an outtake from Vikki’s first Columbia Spanish-language collection EN ESPANOL (1972).

Overall, this is a superlative tribute to Vikki who continues to enjoy Latin popularity via her Spanish-language recordings. Real Gone Music’s usual fulsome notes give thorough attention to this “lost” album and must be thanked for its rediscovery, with remastering achieved to the highest degree along with the bonus tracks whilst also placing these songs within the early changing Seventies music scene.


First Time Ever I (Saw Your Face) (Expanded Edition)
First Time Ever I (Saw Your Face) (Expanded Edition)
Offered by MEGA Media FBA
Price: £10.57

5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT VIKKI CARR REISSUE WITH BONUS TRACKS, 30 Jun 2014
After a successful tenure at Liberty Records, in 1970 Vikki Carr decided a change of label would benefit her rising career and Columbia seemed to offer the best deal. THE FIRST TIME EVER (I SAW YOUR FACE) (1972) was her third album from Columbia and following the trend of recreating contemporary hits by others, the singer was faced with such a repertoire. Fortunately, the outcome was successful with producer Snuff Garrett and arranger Al Capps at the helm to fashion the ideal orchestral ambiance that allowed Vikki to freshen up what could have been predictable fare.

Foremost, were two songs which were hits for Cher - the upbeat GYPSIES TRAMPS AND THIEVES and the powerful ballad THE WAY OF LOVE - plus Neil Diamond’s SONG SUNG BLUE (under which title this album was released in the UK), Kris Kristofferson’s HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT and Ewan MacColl’s album emotional title number were ideal choices. Broadway and Hollywood provided Vikki with a rumbustious CABARET to coincide with the release of the film adaptation and the opportunity to offer full-out dramatic renderings of THE SUMMER KNOWS (THEME FROM “THE SUMMER OF ‘42‘”), SPEAK SOFTLY LOVE (LOVE THEME FROM “THE GODFATHER“) plus BRIAN’S SONG (title of a popular television movie); the latter song replaced on the UK album release by THE BIG HURT which coincidentally is included among the nine bonus songs which represent selected singles released during the period 1970-1975. Included are two Christmas songs - WHAT CHILD IS THIS? to the tune of GREENSLEEVES and traditional hymn, IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR. REFLECTIONS was from the Burt Bacharach/ Hal David score of the flop movie LOST HORIZON and LET THE BAND PLAY ON is one of those songs in the mode of the Peggy Lee classic IS THAT ALL THERE IS?

Overall, this is a superlative tribute to Vikki who continues to enjoy popularity via her Spanish-language recordings. Real Gone Music’s usual fulsome notes give thorough attention to this reissued album which has been remastered to the highest degree along with the bonus tracks whilst also placing such songs within the early Seventies music scene.


Three Classic Albums Plus (Recording Together For The First Time / The Great Reunion / Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson)
Three Classic Albums Plus (Recording Together For The First Time / The Great Reunion / Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson)
Price: £8.49

5.0 out of 5 stars THE WOW FACTOR SET BY SATCHMO, ELLINGTON AND OSCAR PETERSON!, 27 Jun 2014
Another excellent budget-priced double-disc delight from Avid Jazz combines the two Roulette albums Louis Armstrong recorded with the equally iconic Duke Ellington during on two consecutive sessions on April 3rd and 4th, 1961 in New York, with both legends aided by Barney Bigard (clarinet), Trummy Young (trombone), Mort Herbert (bass) and Danny Barcelona (drums). The two albums were entitled RECORDING TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME (1961) followed by THE GREAT REUNION (1963). What you get are incredible versions of MOOD INDIGO, IN A MELLOW TONE and JUST SQUEEZE ME but its almost invidious to select such all-Ellington treasures when the standards set throughout this summit meeting are so high. You don’t necessarily need to be a jazz fanatic to appreciate this mutual admiration get-together of two giants who influenced jazz and early pop music to such a degree. Adding twelve outtakes (nine complete/three incomplete) simply extends the listening pleasure. Just superb in every way and on a par with those classic Verve Satchmo/Ella get-togethers!

However, it doesn’t stop there as fast-forwarding back to October 14th 1957, recalls a similar auspicious date when the album LOUIS ARMSTRONG MEETS OSCAR PETERSON was laid down at Capitol Studios, Hollywood. With the two jazz protagonists backed up by Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (bass) and Louie Bellson (drums), all was set for some excellent reinterpretations of popular songs by pianist/singer & trumpeter with BLUES IN THE NIGHT, THAT OLD FEELING, YOU GO TO MY HEAD and LET’S FALL IN LOVE amongst the chosen repertoire and the outcome was a triumph with Satchmo and Oscar in tune on very level.

Supplied with original graphics, liner notes and Avid‘s remastered sound, this release must be viewed as an essential purchase.


Four Classic Albums Plus (Pick Yourself Up / Cool Heat / Incomparable / Waiter, Make Mine Blues)
Four Classic Albums Plus (Pick Yourself Up / Cool Heat / Incomparable / Waiter, Make Mine Blues)
Price: £7.38

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT ANITA O'DAY FOUR ALBUM COLLECTION DESERVES YOUR ATTENTION!, 26 Jun 2014
Avid’s two-disc set is its second dedicated to the jazz vocal talent of Anita O’Day (1919-2006) and the long wait since the initial release in 2008 has been far too long. However with four prime albums and the bonus gift of two songs SWEET GEORGIA BROWN and TWO FOR TEA from the soundtrack of JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY (1960) this welcome catch-up provides much to appreciate by the elegant chanteuse who appeared on stage to sing those two numbers at that filmed 1958 Newport Jazz Festival event in matching black and white hat and dress with white gloves. That occasion was in fact my first encounter with her unique vocal artistry and since then I have been gradually catching up with her many albums and of course learning along the way about her eventful life which hardly ever followed a safe or sensible course!

I wouldn't argue with Avid’s boast that remastering probably reveals the finest ever sound quality and PICK YOURSELF UP (1956) swings through DON‘T BE THAT WAY, SWEET GEORGIA BROWN, THERE‘S A LULL IN MY LIFE and PICK YOURSELF UP with a great team of backing musicians. Three years later Anita was up and running with COOL HEAT; an album that introduced her take on MACK THE KNIFE with HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD, IT HAD TO BE YOU, MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY and THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT also gaining much from their inclusion either as swingers or pensive ballads, with the advantage of Jimmy Giuffre’s full-blooded arrangements. Bill Holman arranged and conducted the orchestra for INCOMPARABLE! in 1960 and Anita’s gentle THE PARTY’S OVER glowingly traverses the Styne/Green/Comden BELLS ARE RINGING ballad in comparison with the following high-octane Porter classic WHY SHOULDN’T I? AVALON, EASY LIVING, SPEAK LOW, CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS similarly activating both sides of the lady’s vocal personality with to my knowledge the only scat version of Rodgers and Hart’s jazz-ballet SLAUGHTER ON 10TH AVENUE which must have alone been worth the cost of the original vinyl album. Finally, WAITER, MAKE MINE BLUES, recorded the same year, had the arrangements of conductor Russell Garcia to lend atmosphere to the concept which follows a bitter-sweet pathway through ANGEL EYES, DETOUR AHEAD, WHEN SUNNY GETS BLUE and the title number but sharing track-space, THE THRILL IS GONE and YESTERDAYS are among numbers that dispel any thoughts of depression with their more upbeat sensation hitting their upbeat target.

Supplied with original graphics and liner notes, Avid deserves thanks for bringing these Fifties/early Sixties albums of note to our attention with hopefully more waiting similar transfer to CD.


Four Classic Albums (Torchy! / After Glow / Mad About The Man / Birds Of A Feather)
Four Classic Albums (Torchy! / After Glow / Mad About The Man / Birds Of A Feather)
Price: £7.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FOUR GREAT ALBUMS SHOWCASE THE INCREDIBLE VOCAL ARTISTRY OF CARMEN MCRAE, 26 Jun 2014
Drawing inspiration from Billie Holiday, jazz singer, pianist, songwriter, and occasional actress Carmen McRae (1920 - 1994) was instrumental in broadening my interest in more than just pop music during the late Fifties with her distinctive stylish vocal timbre, mellow depth and metallic edge immediately catching my attention when I first heard her singles. OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY/THIS WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH and STAR EYES/I'M A DREAMER (AREN'T WE ALL) were 45’s which quickly joined my collection and further encouraged me to seek out her vinyl albums.

Avid’s two-disc set combines four of them with the boast that remastering probably reveals the finest ever sound quality. First of all there’s TORCHY (1955) which not only contained STAR EYES and I'M A DREAMER (AREN'T WE ALL) but MIDNIGHT SUN, YESTERDAYS and GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE. With orchestral accompaniment shared by either Ralph Burns and Jack Pleis this is a superb collection which at the time of its release made the perfect promotional showcase for the McRae vocal artistry.

The more intimate setting for AFTER GLOW (1957) allowed Carmen to not only sing EXACTLY LIKE YOU, PERDIDO, I CAN’T ESCAPE FROM YOU and THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MEAN SO MUCH but accompany herself on piano - assisted by Ike Isaacs (guitar) and Specs Wright on drums. Other tracks MY FUNNY VALENTINE, I’M THROUGH WITH LOVE and EAST OF THE SUN feature the piano skills of either Ronnell Bright or Ray Bryant; leaving Carmen to concentrate on her vocal styling with, for me, GUESS WHO I SAW TODAY? the heart-breaker highlight of this remarkable collection.

I imagine it took much courage to dedicate a whole album to Noel Coward in 1957 but MAD ABOUT THE MAN is a fine tribute to “The Master” with A ROOM WITH A VIEW, MAD ABOUT THE BOY, SOME DAY I’LL FIND YOU, I’LL FOLLOW MY SECRET HEART and a thrusting take on IF LOVE WERE ALL headlining lesser-known and more difficult rhythm patterns of WORLD WEARY, ZIGEUNER and NEVER AGAIN. However, Carmen’s in full control with orchestral accompaniment and as my first hearing of the complete album it succeeds in every way.

Finally, another unusual concept, BIRDS OF A FEATHER (1958) swoops into songs celebrating the feathered variety with SKYLARK, MISTER MEADOWLARK, BYE BYE BLACKBIRD and THE EAGLE AND ME soaring to the skies via Carmen’s high gloss styling and deep pondering of lyrics. Full orchestral accompaniment.

Since her death in 1994, Carmen's contribution to jazz has been woefully undervalued and this welcome quartet goes a long way to bring these Fifties albums of note to our attention with many more waiting transfer to CD.


Dean Martin 2CD & DVD
Dean Martin 2CD & DVD
Price: £7.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A DOUBLE CD + DVD DATE WITH DEAN, 26 Jun 2014
This review is from: Dean Martin 2CD & DVD (Audio CD)
Delta’s latest series of double CD sets also adds a DVD which makes it a real winner. Among them is this Dean Martin anthology which contains fifty well-selected classic tracks mainly from his Capitol catalogue but also touching on his later Reprise label years. Not only are the hits MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS, RETURN TO ME, VOLARE etc. included but some great ballads, standards and show songs like YOUNG AND FOOLISH, STANDING ON THE CORNER, I’VE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO HER FACE, YOU BELONG TO ME, UNTIL THE REAL THING COMES ALONG and I LOVE PARIS. Whatever he recorded there was always that smoothly relaxed feeling running through each song and I cannot fault the choices on this two-disc collection as they are typically Dean in every respect.

The DVD entitled HIS EARLY PERFORMANCES includes extracts from various television shows probably from the Fifties with non-jarring fades between songs which include CAROLINA IN THE MORNING, ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE, THE ISLE OF CAPRI and IF YOU WERE THE ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD with THAT’S AMORE and MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS representing those hits. Picture quality is acceptable allowing for the age of material when compared with today’s digital improvements. However, this material has been previously available so best check before purchasing.


Andy Williams 2CD & DVD
Andy Williams 2CD & DVD
Price: £9.02

5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT ANDY WILLIAMS 2CD + DVD COMBINATION, 26 Jun 2014
This review is from: Andy Williams 2CD & DVD (DVD)
Delta’s latest series of double CD sets also adds a DVD which makes it a real winner. Among them is this Andy Williams anthology which contains fifty classic tracks extracted from both his early Cadence and later Columbia label albums. There’s a preponderance of movie and show songs with NEVER ON SUNDAY, PEOPLE WILL SAY WE’RE IN LOVE. THE EXODUS SONG, SECRET LOVE, TAMMY, I WHISTLE A HAPPY TUNE and MARIA among the choices. However, hits MOON RIVER and BUTTERFLY redress the balance together with lesser-known numbers STAY JUST A LITTLE WHILE, FORBIDDEN LOVE, PLAYING THE FIELD, YOUNG LOVE, SINCE I FOUND MY BABY and IMPOSSIBLE with excellent sound throughout.

The DVD is a compilation of black and white extracts from the early days of THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW with non-jarring fades between songs which include YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME, LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING, DANNY BOY and IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT. Guest artists accompany Andy, with his brothers on hand for HIGH NOON (DO NOT FORSAKE ME); JUST IN TIME including the participation of the song’s co-writers - Adolph Green and Betty Comden); a cleverly conceived medley (OH YOU BEAUTIFUL DOLL) shared with Patti Page and a bossa-nova sequence featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim. Several numbers include excellent choreography (STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE). Running for approximately 45 minutes the picture quality is acceptable allowing for the age of material when compared with today’s digital improvements.


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