No surprises, no tears.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 03/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This all-torch ballad album culled from evergreens of the American Songbook fully supports Joe's decision to split from Basie and, much like Sinatra's separation from Tommy Dorsey, go it alone as the star attraction. Unfortunately, all-ballad albums and strings-plus-harp accompaniment seem to generate little interest among today's sentiment-deprived listeners. And albums organized around a thematic thread are being dismantled by the thoughtless parcelling out of individual songs into pay-per-tune downloadable audio files--another threat to all-ballad programs organized, moreover, around a theme.
Joe definitely has the voice for this material. These are not the "suicide songs" of the classic Sinatra ballad albums on Capital arranged by Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins. The tempos are considerably "brighter" than those favored by Sinatra, who makes of each number a vehicle for Hamlet-like introspection and poignant, sometimes heart-rending dramatization. The arrangements by Jimmy Mundy are professional and non-distracting though lacking the imaginative narrative touches and complex colors of Riddle's absorbing canvases and the profound melodramatic sentiment of Gordon Jenkins.
An interesting comparison can be made between this album and one done slightly earlier by a former Ellington big band baritone crooner, Herb Jeffries--"Say It Isn't So" on Bethlehem. In some respects Jeffries' approach, more focused on the richness of the baritone sound and on pure melody rather than the drama of the lyrics, is more suggestive of the style favored by Nat Cole, Billy Eckstein, and Johnny Hartman. It's a more detached relation to the song's story or drama but a match-up between singer and song that seems more conducive to repeated listenings. It also suggests that Sinatra's drama was pretty much sui generis and that, if anything, we've underestimated the interpretive and acting abilities that he brought as much to the dramatic possibilities of a song as to a movie role."
Beautiful Voice - Beautiful Man
Genevieve Fraser | Orange, MA United States | 01/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a full-throated Joe. Beautiful satin voice - deep resonance.
He was a master of his craft. I miss him sadly.
Beautiful singing and sappy strings
Nikica Gilic | Zagreb, Croatia | 10/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Speaking about arrangements, this album might have been completely according to Joe Williams' tastes; he liked strings and ballads...
And he does sing it nicely (actually, much better than wonderful Sarah Vaughan in similar circumstances, at least in my opinion).
But, compared to Joe'w work in more jazzy environments, it's just not making him live up to his potential... He is such a great jazz singer!
Well, if you're into conservative, romantic ballads, this is an album for you..."