Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The RCA Years
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Operating at full throttle
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 06/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kay was at the top of her game during her relatively brief stay at RCA, as each of the selections on this collection will attest. She's indeed blessed with a formidable instrument, powerful pipes that unfailingly project to the back row. But she tends to be a belter in the Tucker-Merman tradition, often sacrificing subtlety of expression or personal communicativeness to the production of sound and execution of a frequently "over-arranged" arrangement.
And the arrangements don't always do her a lot of favors. Many of the standards on this collection, though pleasurable to revisit, remind me of preferred alternative versions by Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Lee Wiley, Jo Stafford, Doris Day and others. "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" is a case in point: a swinger that's not merely taken at an overly fast tempo but is so full of starts and stops that you can't help but wonder if Spike Jones had a hand in arranging it. Then there are gratuitous additions, Ink Spots-style singers that may make for an engaging show but do little for repeated listening. When Kay sings "I Want a Little Boy," it's hard for the listener to "feel" that want or, to put it another way, to want to be that little boy. When she sings about long and lonely nights without "My Buddy," it's hard to believe the expressed anguish or the promised cure are as important to her as the selling of the song.
Occasionally, some sense of genuine passion and a hint of vulnerability come through--"Body and Soul," "It's Funny," "We Three" (my personal favorite of the entire collection)--but for the most part the material on this disc is all pitched at a loud, mono-dimensional level. Unless a Nelson Riddle or Gordon Jenkins can be secured to supply the orchestral arrangements, I think one of the best "exercises" for any singer is to occasionally work with a piano trio, being alert and responsive to the "in-the-moment" contributions of each of the three instrumentalists. That, and pretending that you're singing to someone who's with you in a small room seated no more than several feet directly in front of you. With the art of American popular song, as Billie Holiday or Peggy Lee demonstrated time and again, "less" is more."