Various: Once in a Blue Moon -The Love Songs Of Ellen Vanderslice
In an admittedly simplistic manner, I tend to divide songs into three categories. The first are those compositions occupying an important place in the Great American Songbook written by giants like Cole Porter, the Gershwin Brothers, Jimmy Van Heusen, etc. and etc., which are so good they stand on their own merits. The second are tunes which by themselves fall somewhat short of the first group, whose quality is considerably enhanced by good arrangements and excellent performances. The last category, of course, are tunes that are dead in the water and no amount of resuscitation can bring them to life. Ms Vanderslice's fall four square into category two. She is adept at writing good music covering a spectrum of genre. Brazilian dominates "One Minute More", while "If I Never See You Again" merges R & B with Country. Lee Wuthenow's doleful sax from the R & B bag, but Marilyn Keller's vocal is definitely from Nashville. "Reflection in Blue" is a straight ahead romantic ballad, and on the bouncy, blusey "All I Ever Wanted". Lee Wuthenow's tenor has another successful collaboration, this time with vocalist Amandah Jantzen. Outstanding vocalist Rebecca Kilgore shows up for "Moonshadow Dance" making this song come alive as only she can do. Able assistance comes from Dan Faehnle's guitar and Randy Porter's piano. This track is an album highlight.
While the music passes muster, the lyrics which are not all that memorable. Lines like "sometimes I dream you hold me tight, just like you used to do" and "you're gone again and this time this is really the end. No use to pretend that everything's fine... But once in a Blue Moon, drop me a line" are the rule rather than the exception. I had this feeling that I have heard these lines many times before. Recognizing that writing lyrics is no easy thing, a little more originality and imagination by Vanderslice and herco-lyricists would have been useful.
Track Listing: One Minute More - Amandah Jantzen; Moonshadow Dance - Rebecca Kilgore; Once in a Blue Moon - Marilyn Keller; Come on Back, Anytime - Amandah Jantzen; Nothin' But Time - Marilyn Keller; All I Ever Wanted - Nicole Campbell; Reflection in Blue - Amandah Jantzen; Twlight of Blue - Johnny Martin; Love Takes a Walk - Marilyn Keller; Suddenly - Amandah Jantzen; Souvenirs - Marilyn Keller; If I Never See You Again - Marilyn Keller
Personnel: Mike Horsfall - Vibes/Piano; Dan Presley - Bass; Kurt Deutscher - Drums; Lee Wuthenow - Tenor Sax; Mike Snyder - Congas/Drums; Randy Porter - Piano; Phil Baker - Bass/Electric Bass; Ron Steen - Drums; Dan Faehnle - Guitar; Randy Cannon - Piano/Kurzweil PC88; David Evans - Tenor Sax; Amandah Jantzen, Marilyn Keller, Rebecca Kilgore, Johnny Martin - Vocals
Record Label: PHD Music