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Haunted Heart: A Biography of Susannah McCorkle Paperback – 30 May 2008
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"In this comprehensive biography, compiled from meticulous research and interviews with many of McCorkle's confidants... Dahl reconstructs a career distinguished by great promise and great sadness... doing her best to address a large, looming 'Why?' that can never be completely answered." - New York Times "A compelling, sympathetic but often chilling view not only of McCorkle's complexities but also of the difficult business of music itself and of the widespread always potentially fatal illness now better known as bipolar disorder, which the singer hid from so many, even from herself for many years." - Newsweek "Susannah's life was dark and daunting. Her music was suave and sunny. Both are honored in this remarkably well-researched and constantly revealing keyhole peek into a haunted life that is both chilling and exhilarating. I could not put it down." - Rex Reed "Susannah McCorkle was a mesmerizing singer with a dark side she hid even from her closest friends. Now, thanks to this probing and courageous biography, we can understand the gut ambition that took her to the top of her field and the turmoil that brought her down." - James Gavin, author of Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker "Haunted Heart strikingly resembles the woman it describes: it is vivacious, tender, saturnine, industrious, and deeply intelligent. Like Susannah's way with certain ballads, it opens a wound and begins the work of healing it. I am grateful for Linda Dahl's diligence and sympathy." - Leon Wieseltier"
About the Author
Linda Dahl is the author of Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen and Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams. Visit the author's website at www.dahljazz.com
Top customer reviews
She was a jazz singer who concentrated mostly on the great American composers and some Brazilian touches. Her style was to caress the lyrics with clear diction and tremendous lyrical interpretation. More Peggy Lee than Sarah Vaughan, more Billie than Bessie.
By the time she had come to singing, Rock and Roll had taken the audiences and the money. So she did not benefit from the great arrangers that supported Sinatra, Ella, and their contemporaries, but was she was too early for the American Songbook revival and the intimate sounds succesful today of Norah Jones and her like. With small jazz groups she found sympathetic accompaniments and often brought lesser songs from the great American songwriters back into focus. She also translated some lyrics herself especially from Portuguese
The book covers thoroughly Susannah McCorkle's short story writings, language abilty (she nearly became a four language translator for the EU), personal life, difficult mental issues and singing. It is a readable and engrossing biography of this talented but tragic singer. It does not indulge in 'what ifs'. For instance 'Could she have had a better career/life if she have had proper business management rather than a string of musicians/lovers/married partners she was emotionly close to but then parted from?'
The one area I found disappointing was the coverage of her singing. It was treated extensively but mostly from the viewpoint of the people that she had emotional entanglements with or musicians or promotors she had irritated in her quest for the perfect treatment of a song. A retrospective independent view of her records would have been enlightening and have been a good illumination of her talent and a vauble addition to the book. I guess the author, who was not a personal friend but seemed very emotionally synpathetic, would have had to call upon a third party to do this and finance and book authorship may then have been an issue.
If you are taken by Susannah's talent or just like gentle jazz singing of the Great American Songbook with superb lyrical expression, the book is a good read. It also shows that it is not just rock stars and painters who are doomed by their desire to express themselves in a way perfect to themselves.
Buy the records too they really are some of the best of this singing style.
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