This collection shows how pointless it can be to classify music by genre. This could be classed as pop, jazz, R+B or easy listening, yet it is none of these, but a brilliant blend of them all. Fortunately, I realised a long time ago that the only classification that matters is whether I like it or not - and it passes that test with ease.
Although I don't recognise all the songs, I suspect they are all covers. Some were old songs even at the time they were recorded - Stardust and I got it bad were already nearly forty years old - while others were contemporary, but Carmen always stamped her identity on each and every song with her soulful voice.
Sixties songs are well represented, including Sound of silence, Elusive butterfly, Ask any woman, and Macarthur park, but I've never come across versions quite like these - they are very distinctive.
To sum up, this album could appeal to people who like any of the genres already mentioned, but may have most appeal for those (like me) who like a variety of different genres. If you only like one genre of music to the exclusion of all others, you may be best to look elsewhere for your musical entertainment.
on 9 August 2006
I first heard Carmen McRae in 1955, when I was 18, and I have been in love with her ever since. Needles to say anything she has done has always been of interest to me. Like Bille Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, she was essentially a jazz singer, and her best recordings were with trio's recorded 'LIVE'She didnt need large orchestral backings which tended to obscure the intimacy of her work. The recordings here are therefore not essential but completists will want them. The discerning should first shop for her recordings made at Sugar Hill, Donte's and the Great American Music Hall. The best track on this set is 'The Folks who live on the Hill'.