Never thought we'd hear this music
Jim Andrews | Chicago, Illinois USA | 06/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gogi Grant's first work on RCA has been written about since she had her first hit on Era, "Suddenly There's A Valley" and I know so many people who have wanted to hear that music, which was issued in small press runs and been nearly impossible to find. Along the way she did numerous other singles that also became obscure, even more so because when she returned to RCA the label recognized her talent was most suited to the album form, not hit singles. RCA gave her lavish budgets for her albums--the best of everything--and she in turn gave RCA lavish profits. Gogi from the beginning was a striking singer--full, rich tone; unerring pitch; long phrasing and a full-bodied velvety tone with an amber cutting edge. She was almost operatic in her very dramatic, big approach and stage-inspired style (the opposite of Joni James, whose approach was and is highly intimate and confessional and unusually conversational) and that I always felt proved as problematic as it was successful. Slice it any way you want, though, she was and is a fabulous talent. This is a great C.D. end to end, but I have to make a little correction to the notes. She first recorded for RCA as Audrey Grant. Gogi only came with the Era era. And I have to ask what happened to "Who Are We," the single which was the focus of the session at which "The Wayward Wind" was thought of as a B side (some B side!). Besides being beautiful, Gogi is also a beautiful person of great dignity and thoughtfulness. This is a beautiful musical tribute to her. Get it!"
GOGI'S VOCAL APPEAL LIVES ON!
A. POLLOCK | PLYMOUTH, DEVON United Kingdom | 04/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With the growing influence of television in the USA during the early `50's, a dearth of young and perky songbirds sought fame and fortune via exposure on the small screen. Amongst them was Gogi Grant, a classy emotive vocalist, who commenced recording in 1952, the same year as Joni James, who became MGM Records biggest seller until Connie Francis came on the scene. However, Gogi was certainly vocally equipped to ward off all challengers and being glamorous eye candy, made frequent television appearances to promote her many RCA singles aimed towards the Hit Parade with her initial sides FORGET ME NOT and WHERE THERE'S SMOKE THERE'S FIRE heading the list. The need for Gogi to cover hits by others in the hope of gaining sales meant her quite competent recordings of SECRET LOVE and RICOCHET were at a disadvantage against the popular heavyweight odds of Doris Day and Teresa Brewer. However, moving from RCA to Era and given a vocal make-over by the up-coming and talented arranger/conductor Buddy Bregman soon improved Gogi's chances with hits SUDDENLY THERE'S A VALLEY, THE WAYWARD WIND, WHEN THE TIDE IS HIGH and YOU'RE IN LOVE ensuring the singer reached high visibility as one of America's most popular singers just as rock `n roll was gaining a substantial foothold and popularity with the younger generation.
Judging from this excellent UK-released twenty-five track collection of sides recorded during the period 1952-1957, Gogi produced many attractive songs like the waltz-time IT'S A WONDERFUL THING TO BE LOVED and full-blooded ballads HOW DO WE KNOW WE'RE IN LOVE and I WAITED SO LONG which gained kudos when treated with her smooth vocal style. She could also adopt a swinging relaxed approach and THAT'S THE LIFE FOR ME and LAZY LOVE express this aspect of her vocal talent. It's also good to know, Gogi's singing career continued beyond her being the ideal "ghost" voice for Ann Blyth in the 1957 bio-pic THE HELEN MORGAN STORY (UK title BOTH ENDS OF THE CANDLE) with its soundtrack album (currently available from Flare Records) being the catalyst for her return to RCA. In fact, Gogi's songs from the same year's THE BIG BEAT in which she starred, are included in this collection with CALL ME and YOU'VE NEVER BEEN IN LOVE amongst them, whilst BONJOUR TRISTESS, and STRANGE ARE THE WAYS OF LOVE are numbers which really show just how polished her vocal talent became and enabling many fine albums to be released.
This excellent collection is therefore highly recommended for those wishing to savour and celebrate the vocal talent of a much underrated singer and it is highly recommended.