Margie Day: Dawn Of A New Day / Experience (2008)
Margie Day had already enjoyed a lengthy career prior to recording these two albums in the late 1960s, scoring top ten rhythm 'n' blues hits as the featured female vocalist with the Griffin Brothers band in 1951. In the intervening period of course, popular taste moved on apace, rendering her efforts here essentially as sides out of time. That's no bad thing however, as it makes the task of assessing her abilities as a singer of interpretative flair a whole lot easier, and whatever it takes to turn a technically accomplished singer into a moving one, it's clear that she had it.
Her voice is like an amalgam of Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday and Carla Thomas, with her upper register in particular evoking the last of the trio. What she shares with Holiday is an interpretive depth that some of the songs here simply don't deserve. The doggerel of "Over The Rainbow" is a case in point, but it's counteracted by her way with a lyric she seems better able to get her teeth into. On a bed of sumptuous strings she teases something out of "It's All Right With Me," making a case that still manages to be persuasive despite her singular phrasing.
Jimmy Webb's "I Keep It Hid" comes off well here, not least because Day teases something out of it in a way that the British singer Vivienne McAuliffe did with the band Affinity on Webb's "Sunshower." The thing that unites the two radically different songs is the singer's shared depth of interpretation, and Day pulls the same feat off on the following "Time Doesn't Matter Anymore," aided in no small part by a sympathetic arrangement.
Ray Ellis's arrangement on "Don't Pay Them No Mind" throws Day's voice into stark relief, but the combination of the two is persuasive in the extreme, Day showing what a telling reader she could be. She also perhaps unwittingly sets out a case for telling singing as so much more than a matter of mere technical fireworks; here nuance and emphasis are of far greater importance, suggesting that the skills of the actress have their use outside the realm of physical performance.
Track Listing: Walk Away; Am I Blue?; Wouldn't It Be Lovely?; Over The Rainbow; As Time Goes By; It's All Right With Me; Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love); Much Too Long; In Times Like These; Ain't It The Truth; What Does He Think; If The Laugh-In Don't Kill Me; I Keep It Hid; Time Doesn't Matter Anymore; Ever Livin' Lovin? Program Plan; Rainbow People; I Thought About You; Don't Pay Them No Mind; Let's Start All Over Again; Maybe You?ll Be There; Wine In The Wind.
Personnel: Margie Day: vocals; Ray Ellis: conductor, arrangements (1, 2, 6, 9, 12, 18, 19); Chuck Sagle: arrangements (3, 4, 7, 10); Jimmy Wisner: conductor, arrangements (5, 8); Gary Illingworth: conductor, arrangements (11, 13-15); Art Beck: conductor, arrangements (16, 17, 20, 21).