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.

OK, I’ll come clean. If I could only take one singer to my desert island it would have to be Dusty. She would have been 76 yesterday and we can’t let that pass unmarked. This is a favourite track from one of her post-hits, pre-comeback 70s albums that got lost in the shuffle. The Dennis Lambert/Brian Potter produced Cameo was full of gorgeous covers of tunes like Easy Evil and Tupelo Honey as well as some cracking Lambert & Potter originals including Who Gets Your Love and this little stunna. Dusty sings about the end of a relationship and still makes you want to get up and dance.

 

Like Dusty, Jo Stafford could sing just about anything. How many other singers worked equally effectively with both Dave Lambert and Gordon MacRae? In some ways she was the original ‘cool’ girl singer but, while her technique was always faultless, for all its restraint there is a wealth of feeling in everything she sings. Here she is, accompanied by husband and frequent collaborator Paul Weston, with a 1959 remake (not 1944 as it says on YouTube) of one of her wartime favourites. Pure class.

 

 

 

Here is Dexter Gordon’s sublime 1961 recording of You’ve Changed from his Blue Note LP Doin’ Allright. Listen to Freddie Hubbard’s wonderful trumpet playing as well. I’m still trying to write a vocalese lyric to Dexter’s first two choruses. One day it will be unveiled…

 

Lena Horne never got to record with Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Pete Rugolo et al – maybe because she was never signed to Capitol. Her albums were frequently arranged by husband Lennie Hayton – a highly competent musician but not quite in the Riddle class. For one date though she did get the absolute cream. In the early 60s she recorded an album with Marty Paich (Lovely and Alive). This is the opening number. There’s also a live version on YouTube where she almost explodes out of the screen. At this point she’s halfway between the sultry screen siren of the 40s and the red hot mama of The Lady And Her Music and you could power the whole studio off her.