Search - Abbey Lincoln :: Wholly Earth

Wholly Earth
Abbey Lincoln
Wholly Earth
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Abbey Lincoln's follow-up to the well-received Verve release Who Used to Dance finds the singer stretching her sweet and sour vocals and exquisitely languorous phrasing over a set of (mostly) original material. Joined by t...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Abbey Lincoln
Title: Wholly Earth
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Original Release Date: 1/26/1999
Release Date: 1/26/1999
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Modern Postbebop, Vocal Jazz, Bebop, Vocal Pop, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 731455953824, 0731455953824, 731455919820

Abbey Lincoln's follow-up to the well-received Verve release Who Used to Dance finds the singer stretching her sweet and sour vocals and exquisitely languorous phrasing over a set of (mostly) original material. Joined by the likes of Bobby Hutcherson on vibes and marimba and Nicholas Payton on trumpet and flügelhorn, Wholly Earth is wholly Abbey Lincoln--romance buffered by heartbreak tragedy; idealism diffused by real-life pitfalls; striking beauty windblown by brief shadows and sad downpours. On the title cut she is swept away by joy while "Caged Bird" is a melancholy shuffle and "And It's Supposed to Be Love" is a romantic tearjerker. That Ms. Lincoln can express so many moods--some just by the mere sound of her voice--is testament to her tremendous talents. That a record like Wholly Earth is large enough to contain all she has to offer is testament to its remarkable success. --S. Duda

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CD Reviews

A Keeper, Not a Classic
Miles P. Grier | New York, NY United States | 03/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Undoubtedly, Abbey Lincoln is one of the most intelligent, sophisticated singers out there. Everyone, it seems, has noted her way with lyrics -- a commitment to the defiance, wry humor, or lovelessness of the songs' emotional world that surely co-exists with her acting skills. Very few people read a lyric as well as Abbey. On a purely musical level, Abbey's voice is an eccentric and unusual instrument. When matched with the right material, the results are sublime. However, unspectacular accompaniment, arrangements, or lyrics draw the listener's attention to Abbey's vocal shortcomings. Although Abbey does not commit some of the egregious lapses in intonation that mar volume two of her Billie Holiday tribute, "Wholly Earth" does not have the consistent excellence of some of her other albums. Two of those better albums are: "Abbey is Blue" (a 50s collaboration with Max Roach) and "When there is Love" (good songs sung well with sympathetic pianist Hank Jones as only accompaniment). "Wholly Earth" is somewhere between one-half and two-thirds of a great album. Her original songs fare worst: "Conversation With a Baby" features her musings about the celestial origins of babies, but remains entirely earthbound because its descending melody, harmonic structure, and solos are uninventive. Yet, "And It's Supposed to Be Love" and the title track show that Abbey and the band can compensate for some unoriginality in lyric, melody, or harmony with a groove that highlights the musicians' unity of purpose. "Another Time, Another Place" and "If I Only Had a Brain" also deserve special mention as well-performed standards.I think that reviewers and listeners should stop forgiving Abbey's faults in intonation, songwriting, and melodic choices (e.g. a screechy ending that mars a well-performed title track) and push her to exhibit what the best of these tracks show. Five stars? A bit much. Save that for consistent and truly outstanding albums. Perhaps it's time that Verve released Abbey from (or encouraged her to exceed) the pattern of ballads and originals performed with a piano-led trio that most of her Verves follow."
Abbey Lincoln at her best
Bill Eckert ( | Plainfield, NH | 08/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Abbey Lincoln's A Turtle's Dream was my introduction to her art, and I highly recommend it. But Wholly Earth is more honest, less cute, and artistically whole. To call 'And It's Supposed to Be Love' a romantic tear jerker (see Amazon's review) is way off. Listen (read if you must) the words, and you'll know what this is about. But it's not melodramatic, just up-front honest. 'Midnight Sun' is a beautiful arrangement, 'Another World' has it's own space and tempo that fits Abbey (who wrote it) just right. It fits beautifully with 'Another Time, Another Place' two cuts later. 'If I Only Had a Brain' is a lot of fun, but holds something deeper than we knew back in Oz. Abbey's 'Learning How to Listen' sums it all up. Abbey - thanks for helping me learn how to listen."
Better With Time!
LaShonda K. Barnett | Williamsburg, Virginia | 08/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Abbey Lincoln has enjoyed a performative career which spans over four decades. It is both invigorating and inspiring to note that on "Wholly Earth," her seventh recording for the Verve label in nine years, Lincoln showcases some of her most philosophical songwriting and sublime phrasing. Listeners who are atuned to flowery, non-specific ditties about romance will be disappointed by this album. However, for a lyrical, visceral journey about life, audiences will be more than grateful for Lincoln's latest tour-de-force."