La Vern Baker is an excellent singer and the orchestra backing which includes several tenor sax solos by Paul Quinichette is excellent as well. What is less than great are the monotonous blues songs that dominate this record. There are, however, a few good tunes such as "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" and "After You've Gone" which are wholly successful and make it possible to recommend this CD.
A softer version of Bessie Smith's versions, but I love this album for that difference and for the clean, crisp, sound quality that had developed after Bessie's heyday. Lavern Baker does a really respectful homage to Bessie here. I particularly like 'Baby Doll'. I will be honest and state that I don't particularly like Lavern baker's other albums as the production on those is from a certain commercially bland period that, for me, removed the guts of what could have otherwise have been fantastic songs. This album, however, mimics the jazz/blues big, brassy,band style of Bessie Smith's time. 'Money Blues' is also a wonderful track. I would say that the version of 'Nobody Knows You when Your Down And Out' on this album is possibly the best one going ( Eric Clapton's version being the worst ). Well,,,,,,let's face it,,,,the whole album is a treat for the lug 'oles. There is a great deal of style here. If only Lavern's other albums were of this quality.