How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Marlene VerPlanck is a singing canary of the old- fashioned sortone who consistently picks great songs and then sings them in a brightly chirping soprano so that every single lyric is quite intelligible. The songs come out radiating an aura of a singer in love with what she's doing. Maybe that all ought to be commonplace in music, but it isn't. On Once There Was A Moon she continues to demonstrate what a reliable custodian she is of the American Songbook.
Although some of the songs here are well-known, VerPlanck has a way of going her own fresh way with them. For instance, Irving Berlin's "The Best Thing For You" (and the simplicity of Berlin's song fits hand-in-glove with her style) gets a racing-breathlessly-down-the-street-in-love-hooray delivery. By contrast, Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin" finds her in an after-hours meditation, the mood somehow both insouciant and cheerfully obsessed.
Happily, along with those gems there are more than a few old treasures to (re)discover. Among them is Segal/Wells' slyly seductive "What Are You Afraid Of?" When she invitingly warbles "Take your shoes off, baby," surely only a fool would delay. Resonant and haunting, Benny Carter's romantic "Evening Star" offers an irrefutable reminder of what a fine songwriter that great musician also was. Another gem is Bob Haymes/Marty Clarke's "They Say It's Spring." A breathless consideration of love in bloom, it's irresistible and, as throughout, Tedd Firth's piano accompaniment is the keyboard Baccarat for serving up VerPlanck's dry martini vocalizing.
Track Listing: I'm In Love Again; Where Do You Go From Love; The Best Thing For You; Around About Half Past Nine; It Might As Well Be Spring; I've Got You Under My Skin; What Are You Afraid Of?; Evening Star; They Say It's Spring; Better Luck Next Time; You're Laughing At Me; Everything I Love; Dearly Beloved; Once There Was A Moon.
Personnel: Marlene Ver Planck: vocals; Tedd Firth: piano; Rich DeRosa: drums; Steve LaSpina: bass.