Gill Manly: The Lies Of Handsome Men (2012)
Wallace, who was lyricist Fran Landesman's long-term songwriting collaborator, is a sensitive and unselfish accompanist who also produced this album. All of these songs are Manly's personal favorites, selected from her "personal treasure trove." Manly delivers the lyrics with such emotion and honesty that it's easy to believe that these songs are autobiographical, even with the knowledge that someone else wrote them all. Of course, some of these narratives may well touch on Manly's personal experiencesshe describes Francesca Blumenthal's title track as "a tongue-in-cheek biographical nod to my past"but even when she sings standards like "Witchcraft" or "Charade," she brings an individuality to each song.
Guest singer/pianist Buddy Greco joins Manly for Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen's "Second Time Around." It's not really a duetManly sings the first half of the song, Greco the secondbut Greco's piano playing is stylish and, while his voice lacks the strength of past years, his phrasing remains strong.
In such sterling musical company a couple of songsTears For Fears' rather portentous "Mad World" and Rod McKuen's "A Single Woman"are less impressive, despite the quality of Manly's vocals. But never fear, for the highlights are many: Oliver Nelson and Mark Murphy's soulful "Stolen Moments," Landesman's lovely "Before Love Went Out Of Style" (with music by Dudley Moore) and the world-weary grace of John Scott and Caryl Brahms' "Woman Talk" are all standout performances.
The finest performance of all is Manly's interpretation of Dmitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington's "Wild Is The Wind." Wallace's accompaniment is spacious and considered; a perfect foundation for Manly's restrained yet heartfelt vocal. It's a striking example of "less is more," and it just might be the benchmark interpretation of this great song.
Track Listing: The Lies Of Handsome Men; Peel Me A Grape; Before Love Went Out Of Style; Witchcraft; Windmills Of Your Mind; Stolen Moments; Mad World; Woman Talk; Charade; A Single Woman; Second Time Around; Wild Is The Wind; Go Away Little Boy; How Insensitive; Not Like This.
Personnel: Gill Manly: vocals; Simon Wallace: piano; Buddy Greco: piano and vocals (11).
Record Label: Sacrebleu Records