Philadelphia-born singer Ernie Andrews has made Los Angeles his home for 60 of his 77 years, in the process becoming a legend among local jazz and blues fans by consistently presenting one of the best live performances in town. Die-hard fans of the blues/jazz singer will most appreciate Verve's new reissue of this album, first recorded in '64 for Dot Records.
Andrews is at his finest when delivering songs that tell a story and tunes which are heavily steeped in the blues. His rendition of the classic "Parker's Mood," a heartfelt tribute, is easily the best tune of the set. With minimal accompaniment, his take on "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" is effectively delivered at a near-glacierly pace, adding to the song's sense of pathos.
Unfortunately, the remaining songs on the album are lyrically and musically very dated. This is Ernie Andrews was recorded 41 years ago, and Andrews' rich baritone has since gotten deeper and more resonant. In performance, his shows are sassy and fun-filled. This album comes nowhere near capturing the man's vocal talents, stage presence, ability to interact with an audience, or sense of humor. Ernie Andrews is best appreciated live.
Personnel: Ernie Andrews: vocals; Rene Hall: guitar; Jerome Parsons: organ.