Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
SUBLIME & INCREDIBLE VOCALS~BRAVO MORGANA!!!
Bradly Briggs | TOLUCA LAKE, CALIFORNIA | 07/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally the incomparable Morgana King masterpiece "New Beginnings..." is out on CD for all "great singer" fans to savor and enjoy...amazing masterwork is so fine and a true magical musical journey.
Masterfully arranged by Bob James and Torrie Zito (Mr. Zito brilliantly arranged classic "A Taste Of Honey" for Morgana), this tremendous vocal collection is as good as it gets! Stevie Wonder exclaimed "Morgana King has done the best version of ~You Are The Sunshine Of My Life~ I have heard" and reviews from Rolling Stone to New York Times were ecstatic with praise for Morgana and this stunning work! Timeless and contemporary wondrous musical journey would have been huge with proper promotion but memories of a record company with cash flow problems kept this from happening as clearly quality and creativity were not the issue but too bad the Grammy Award Foundation didn't rise to this splendid musical occasion and give the deserved Grammy Award nod this incredible collection and Morgana King earned...Bravo Morgana King!
Now if only some smart reissue label would release the other Morgana King masterwork "I Know How It Feels To Be Lonely" on MGM/Verve from 1968 that feature incredible versions of everything from The Beatles and Donavan to other classic contemporaries, then all will be wonderful and fine in the world of blissful and magical vocal music!~"
Breathtakingly cool stylings, Never dull or predictable
Arthur Bishop | 08/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had this on vinyl when it first came out. You cannot not like this album. Morgana's covers of the then newer songs are wonderful interpretations. The original "Jennifer Had" is lovingly sad. This is a great intro to anyone who is just now getting to know Morgana. For us old fans, that soft voice is caressing our ears over and over again. Here she moved away from the classic songs and it worked in grand fashion."
Stunning Entry By Eclectic Jazz Singer
James Morris | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 01/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"New Beginnings is a blazing star in the mostly stellar output of Morgana King, one of the least known but most talented singers to emerge from the world of Jazz. Sometimes it's very challenging to have such eclectic taste; according to some biographers, Morgana King has made over thirty LP's in her recording career, which stretched from the early 1950's to the late 1990's. I have been a fan for 35 years, yet have only managed to acquire 13 of her albums, rendering my collection woefully incomplete, although I have most of her available CD's and all of the rare vinyl releases I could find. I gave up my desperate search for the LP, "Morgana King Sings the Blues" because a bid I had on the Amazon Market Place for nearly two years yielded no results.
I feel compelled to join the debate on whether or not Ms. King is an "acquired taste". Although I must side with those who say she is, let me quickly add that I don't believe that such a tag is necessarily a bad thing. In a world filled with "superstars" of mediocre talent and output, Morgana King is a refreshing and unique choice for music lovers of discriminating taste. She's not for everyone, but I believe truly great singers are seldom universally embraced. One friend of mine, whose taste I admire and trust, finds her "excessively mannered" and another, also well-versed in jazz, likens her voice to "nails on a blackboard". Although I do not share their opinions, I respect their right to voice them, and I can certainly see where they're coming from. Morgana's instrument possesses an amazing range, and nobody - and I mean nobody - can stretch a note the way she can, easily gliding from lower octaves to a glass-shattering high pitch, sometimes in one breath. That said, her vocal histrionics are occasionally over-reaching, and I sometimes wince at her more dramatic vocalizing, or even when she achieves a particular note.
Whenever she does fail, I believe much of the fault lies with her celebrated but overrated arrangers, and I (for one) don't believe that her teaming with Torrie Zito was as beneficial to her output or career as many claim it was. Her famous rendition of A Taste of Honey (from the "breakthrough" album of the same name) is one of her efforts I've heard most criticized, and her dramatic inflections on that song have been disparaged by some critics with very effective arguments. Her penchant in the later years (especially the Muse recordings) to place her stamp on contemporary pop songs yielded some of the biggest misfires of her career. When it works, she really cooks (as in her tender, utterly gorgeous reading of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are"), but I doubt if her vocal overreaching on Barry Manilow's "Could It Be Magic" earned her any new fans. I prefer Morgana with the show-off vocal pyrotechnics kept to a minimum, which is why her 1950's Folk Songs a la King (re-released on Ascot as Everybody Loves Saturday Night) is my favorite of her vinyl LP's (of those I've been able to find), followed closely by her wonderfully understated early Mercury album, For You, For Me, Forevermore and another of her Ascot LP's, The End of a Love Affair.
Happily, not all of Morgana's middle period releases are "acquired tastes" and New Beginnings is the best of the lot. Released in 1973, this album was my introduction to Ms. King's craft, and a fine introduction it is. So fine, in fact, that it is one of only two of her albums that I bothered to transfer from vinyl LP to digital for my collection (although I happily ordered this release, since my original vinyl was pretty much shot when I burned it to CD).
While every track on this album is gorgeous, there are three outstanding tracks that make this CD one of her best releases. Each merits further discussion.
The medley, Desert Hush and I Am a Leaf, is nothing short of stunning. Reflective, gentle and relaxing, it's Morgana at her absolute best, and I never tire of it. My two friends who don't like her at least admit that it's "interesting", but anyone who is unfamiliar with her sound is sure to be impressed. While it is a flawless take, it is not the highlight of the album.
The original album notes contained the mini-review, "Morgana King has done the best version of `You Are the Sunshine of My Life' I have heard. And you can quote me" - Stevie Wonder. Nice quote, but not quite the whole story. Morgana's spin on this R & B classic has totally reinvented it; once you have heard it, every other version literally pales by comparison. Her vocal embellishments, far from sounding heavy-handed or overly dramatic, work here to the point of perfection, and Morgana's earthy caressing of each and every note is guaranteed to send chills down your spine.
And for me, Morgana's timeless rendering of the Leon Russell classic, A Song For You, is the zenith of gorgeous vocals. As with Sunshine of My Life, Morgana reinvents it in her own inimitable style, and breathes new life into a standard that countless vocalists have assailed in the last 35 years with lesser results. Also, as with Sunshine of My Life, every other version pales by comparison, and even Morgana's harshest critics must admit that her vocal range on this track is amazing, her phrasing impeccable and her ability to sooth the spirit undeniable. And if those aren't some of the things that make a truly great singer, I don't know what is.
As with any of her albums, I don't expect New Beginnings to be available forever; she's too good, her talent too awesome and her voice (acquired taste or not), entirely too wonderful to be appreciated by the masses. Snap it up, before it's gone."