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4.7 out of 5 stars17
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 April 2005
Having bought and been thoroughly impressed with Clare's latest album "Don't Talk", I thought I should investigate some of her back catalogue "before she woz famous", and from this one I can certainly see why she was snapped up by major label Sony.
Content here is more the swinging jazz style, with a romp through Johnny Mercer's "Dream" setting the tone from the start. There's no big band, though; backing comes from her regular group of six musicians, all given their chance to shine individually along the way. Clare's voice is beautiful, smooth and low, with more than a hint of Peggy Lee's phrasing, and by turn swinging, emotive, joyous and powerful, just rightly as each track demands. She even tries a little scat, of which I'm normally no great fan, on Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies", and it's brilliant, as a one-off.
The Great American Songbook is duly raided for most of the tracks, the one slightly less familiar amongst these being "Something I Dreamed Last Night", a bluesy ballad previously aired only by Anita O'Day and Marlene Dietrich, which Clare gives just the right, contrasting, laid-back treatment of. She also gives us a dreamy, late night version of "What A Difference A Day Made", certainly a nice change to some over-excited attacks on this song elsewhere.
Two of her own compositions are included, one after the other. "So Blue" is a haunting torch song in the mould of Kay Starr or Patsy Cline; "The Road Less Travelled" is more uptempo, with a groovy 60s lounge feel, the only drawback being Jamie Cullum's added vocal - any pretentions that the man can sing are blown away right here next to Clare's golden tone. Nevertheless, these two songs show that she can certainly write.
Sound and production are handled by much the same team as on her new album. Apart from the slower numbers everything, backing musicians as well as vocals, is very upfront, and the only drawback to this is that when the heat is turned up, for example on the last two tracks, the backing does almost overwhelm her in the choruses. This is a minor gripe, though - it's a very fine and enjoyable album, enough to tempt one further back in her archive.
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on 3 March 2004
I heard Clare Teal on the radio a few weeks ago and thought that she had a lovely voice then. I bought this album last saturday and I just can't stop playing it. Her voice is so lush it's like an audio version of chocolate. I love the upbeat songs, but it's the slow ballads that really really show off her vocals. I'm not a jazz specialist and i didn't even think i liked jazz very much but i'm going to get her other albums as soon as I can. An excellent record.
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on 17 September 2003
Clare Teal has been one of those artists that simply has failed to disappoint with each record she has released. I have been lucky enough to see her perform live and I can assure you that she is every bit as wonderful in "reality" as she is on record. Her new album "The Road Less Travelled" captures her every breath perfectly. Her range is astounding on this album, even more than the beautiful "Orsino's Songs". The album starts with Johnny Mercer's "Dream" (the best arrangement I have ever heard of this song by the way) and then it's straight into one of Clare's original compositions "So Blue". "So Blue" is a fitting tribute to the style of Patsy Cline and really shows off Clare's vocals. It's almost country in some places, but never crosses the line from tribute to pastiche. Then there is the awesome title track, a very powerful and intricate duet with Jamie Cullum..and again, a Clare Teal/Amanda Field original composition. Other outstanding performances on this album have to be "Something I Dreamed Last Night" which Clare sings so softly and clearly you can't help be be totally caught up in the emotions of the words and "Teach Me Tonight" that features a stunning guitar solo from Nils Solberg along with a very subtle but enhancing Hammond Organ part played by Simon Wallace. I really can't recommend this album enough, there is not one song that lets it down. "Clare Teal" a mark of real jazz quality!
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on 3 March 2004
From start to finish this album is simply wonderful. I love everything about it. Clare Teal has a beautiful rich voice which seemlessly envelops it'self beautifully around the words and melodies. Real listening pleasure. Favourite songs are 'So Blue', 'The Road Less Travelled' and 'Miss Otis Regrets'. There are so many different levels but the voice is the key element. If you enjoy Peggy Lee and Julie London then you will adore this inspirational album.
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Taking its title from one of the two original songs co-written by Clare, the album features a cover showing Clare by the side of what looks at first glance like a country lane, but might well have once been the track-bed of a railway line, because it is so straight. The title track is actually a duet with Jamie Cullum, a singer who Clare helped on his own way to stardom. The other song co-written by Clare is So blue, which is a plaintive ballad. As on her previous album, this one includes the lyrics to her original songs, but not to any of the oldies.

The remaining tracks are drawn from the first half of the twentieth century. I didn't recognize all the titles at first glance, which is good because they are all great songs. Something I dreamed last night (a cover of a song once recorded by Anita O'Day, though not a hit for her) and Velvet moon (a huge instrumental hit for Harry James) are particularly welcome. If you've heard the hit version of Velvet moon and wondered what the song was about, you can hear Clare's wonderful vocal version here.

More familiar fare can be found in Clare's covers of Dream, Blue skies, Miss Otis regrets, What a difference a day makes, Teach me tonight and I'm beginning to see the light, on which Clare sounds as good as ever. Yet there are likely to be plenty of people, just beginning to discover the delights of jazz and old-time music, for whom this album may be the first time they hear these songs; after all, everybody has to start somewhere and you aren`t likely to hear any of these songs on mainstream pop radio these days.

Clare Teal is one of Britain's finest jazz singers and this album provides an excellent sampling of her work. She deserves all the success that she is now enjoying.
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on 4 February 2005
This is the best (so far) album before she went to Sony.
Lots of Jazz standards along with some of her own work.
Clare is definatly growing into a Jazz musicians singer. Lots of passion and emotion.
Buy this and enjoy
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on 6 October 2003
This album is knockout. Beautifully recorded, beautifully delivered. Teal's voice is huge it just gets better and better. Orsino Songs (CT's last album) showed real promise but this is 200 times better. Buy this album if you like great songs sung as they should be - with class. You'll find some real gems on here. Although it is only October I'm pretty sure this will be my album of the year! Buy with confidence.
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on 16 May 2005
I bought this album after seeing Clare the first time she went on Parkinson (November 2003). Since then, I have seen her live twice (and will again soon), and bought all the other albums she has made. I can't think of a single problem with this album, hence the five stars. There is a variety of jazz styles on here, so it isn't like you get the same thing thrown at you constantly. Thoroughly recommend it!
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on 12 October 2003
What do you do when someone like Dave Horton says it all in his review? Well, it's your pleasure to endorse his assessments and add your voice to his in the hope that the combination reinforces the impression to the prospective purchaser that this is yet another fine disc from Clare Teal and her musicians. This is quality music from quality players, including Mark Crooks on reeds, a newcomer to the group – all of them as good in 'live' performance as here on disc. I too think Clare's song-writing abilities are of a high order, so the wary need have no worries. If you want ideal gifts for yourself and others, here is the solution – and since the two previous discs by this distinctive talent are equally good, you should have no problems in this regard for some time to come!
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on 1 June 2015
Very good album very pleased indeed a good selection of music VERY HAPPY INDEED
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