Back in 1965, Gloria Lynne's "I Wish You Love was the first song by a jazz singer to hit the top of the jazz, R&B, and pop charts at the same time. Lynne became an overnight star due to this obscure French tune that seemed to bewitch everyone who heard it. However, over time the record, like Gloria Lynne's output, fell by the wayside and eventually out of circulation. This CD resurrects that tune, along with the rest of the original album.
What makes a song a hit? It's hard to say, but it involves a mysterious combination of luck, timing, and artistry. It's easy to see why "I Wish You Love became a hit in the mid-sixties; it's the perfect blend of syrupy orchestration and passionate singing that created hits for many other pop stars. But it's not the best thing Lynne ever did; there are many songs here, like "I Know Love, that are a notch above.
Lynne is primarily backed by the charts of Marty Paich, who enfolds her in willowy strings, punchy brass, a choir, whatever suits the song. All are treated with a subtle, Spectorish reverb that recalls the glory days of AM radio. There are some other performances that feature simpler backing, such as a piano trio presumably led by Paich.
But what comes crystal clear through every performance is Lynne's boisterous delivery, honed on gospel music and featuring the jolt and richness of a shot of espresso with just the hint of sweetness to soften the edges. Lynne requires the right presentation for her powerful vocals, and Paich and company deliver the goods.
I Wish You Love is very much a product of its time. It's a pleasant pop record awash in orchestration with few surprises. One quibble: the songs on the track listing on the back are almost totally out of order; close listening to the lyrics will enable you to figure out which is which.
Personnel: Gloria Lynne - vocals; with arrnagements by Marty Paich.