I have an embarrassingly large CD and record collection – spread across two flats (not both mine, in case you were wondering) and occupying everything from shelves to suitcases. Courtesy of YouTube, I thought I’d share some of the choice items – particularly some of the less well known ones.  Think of it as a slowly evolving, digital mixtape...

There’ll be a new song most days (at least that’s the plan) so keep checking back and please post your comments and suggestions as well.

Here’s another little Bacharach and David gem. Phyllis Hyman and George Duke both recorded it, as did Dionne on her Here I Am album (see yesterday’s post). This version from 2003, with Ronald sans Brothers and an orchestra lead by Mr B himself, may be the best.

 

The Bacharach and David/Dionne Warwick catalogue is much bigger than just the hits.  Beginning with Presenting Dionne Warwick in 1963, they produced over a dozen albums all of whch included a fair slew of B&D compositions. 

Inevitably there are quite a few (somewhat) forgotten gems. This one did creep out as a single and made the lower reaches of the US charts. Like many of the trio’s efforts, it’s extraordinarily complex both musically and lyrically but Dionne makes light work of it. The album from which this song comes, 1965’s Here I Am, is also the source of Are You There (With Another Girl) which I recorded on the new album – and of another great tune which I’ll post tomorrow.

 

Jeri Southern is largely forgotten today. Active throughout the 50s, she turned her back on the music business in the early 60s and worked as a piano and vocal coach. Her best recordings are her early ones with small groups when she generally accompanied herself at the piano (as here with Dave Barbour on guitar). She could swing with the best - and play subtly with both melody and time - but her intimate style was probably shown at its best on ballads. There’s no emoting here but she still manages to ring all the pathos out of this Rodgers and Hart number from By Jupiter.

 

Carmen McRae's version of this great Tommy Woolf song first appeared on 1968's Portrait of Carmen, one of several albums she recorded for Atlantic.  Perhaps inspired by the success of Nancy Wison at Capitol, Atlantic were trying to take Carmen in a more pop/soul direction (albeit with a bit more grit) and, indeed, this song had appeared on Nancy's Welcome To My Love album the year before. 

Despite the move towards more contemporary material (the album also includes a version of Elusive Butterfly as well as showtunes of the day like Walking Happy and Loads of Love) Carmen's phrasing retains all its bite and flexibility and her voice is probably at it's absolute peak here.