Ruth Cameron: Roadhouse
A follow on to Ruth Cameron's first album for Verve, First Songs, her latest album also features a class standard play list with some differences. The most significant one is playing time. Her first album didn't even hit the 26-minute mark, while this one offers more than an hour of music. The theme of this album is music one heard at road houses during the 1950's. The roadhouses I frequented during this period were noted for louder, more up tempo - in fact raucous - material, until around midnight. The music then got romantic and sexy to fit the mood of the dancers who by then were a bit boozy. That's the category into which the music on this album fits. Another departure from her first CD is that during the four days that this album was being recorded, five different pianists (all top drawer) were brought in. Given the ballad driven ballad agenda, the reason for the mix of accompanists escapes me since they all play in a slow, moody style to back Cameron who's singing that way.
But the bottom line is that this album is good vocal stuff. Cameron's soft, cool, wispy style recalls Jeri Southern, Peggy Lee (when Lee wanted to be soft and wispy) and, since her teacher was Sue Raney, that singer as well. She also includes the verses to some of the songs, like "Body and Soul". Gary Foster's tenor noodles underneath a soft, poignant version of "My old Flame" with a sensuous tinge in Cameron's voice making one recall Peggy Lee's 1969 rendition of this tune favored by singers who lean toward the ballad form. There is one medium tempo, and fun, piece and that's the album's coda "Waitin' for the Train to Come in" with Federico Ruiz's violin doing the bulk of the accompanying honors ably supported by Chris Dawson on piano. Ralph Moore's tenor underpins Cameron on five tracks and is especially soulful on "One for My Baby and One More for the Road".
Ruth Cameron's second CD is a good one and is highly recommended.