December 19th – Carmen McRae – I Could Have Told You

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the list of songs displaying empathy between the jilted and their replacements is a short one.  I Could Have Told You is one of the few and I like the fact that this particular version is laced with a certain amount of satisfaction that her successor is going through just what Carmen experienced.  Not to mention the fact that she’s, clearly, still pretty mad about the boy herself.  Carol Sloane, Arthur Prysock and Esther Phillips (does anyone do rueful better?) also recorded great versions.

The album is a real rarity.  Recorded in 1973, here is Carmen accompanying herself on piano in a Tokyo Jazz club.  Another recording that sat in the vaults for decades, it’s just wonderful and makes one regret that she didn’t record more like this.  She’s in particularly good voice here, her playing is spare and apposite and her emotional engagement is total.  A gem.