As a legend in her long lifetime, the career of Lena Horne (1917-2010) was all-embracing with films, cabaret appearances, concerts and extensive recorded legacy allowing us to appreciate her direct classy vocal style that perhaps epitomised a lady who was also unafraid to stand up for her beliefs; a stance which gained her respect as artiste and person.
LENA ON THE BLUE SIDE has perhaps been unfairly overshadowed by the singer‘s other albums from the same period so its release by Sepia Records is very welcome. Recorded in July 1961 by RCA-Victor, Lena is in slow-burn mood with every song given her extra special vocal magic aided by Marty Gold as arranger/conductor and some inspiring arrangements. Apart from the newly-minted Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh song THE RULES OF THE ROAD, the remaining eleven choices embrace a rich vein of standards with PARADISE, DARN THAT DREAM, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME and AS YOU DESIRE ME amongst them and all make ideal material for the album’s overall theme.
Ten bonus tracks, mainly dating from the late Fifties will undoubtedly be welcome, especially as they include a quartet of numbers from Lena’s Broadway musical JAMAICA - with its score by Harold Arlen/E. Y. Harburg and WHERE IS LOVE? from Lionel Bart’s OLIVER.
Excellent sound quality is backed up by Sepia’s usual informative notes and photographs.