On several instances in this collection of previously unreleased material, Patty Waters appears so unexpected, so revealing, that hearing her feels like eavesdropping. Delicate, sensitive, and slightly melancholic, Waters sings of the off-center tones in love and life. Spanning 1960-79, You Thrill Me
features many of Waters' solo ballads on piano, avoiding all of her more provocative free jazz excursions.
The collection begins with a light-hearted, jazzy jingle for Jax Beer, a now defunct New Orleans brewery. Though meant to be merry, Waters' breathy, hushed style suggests otherwise. It is this mercurial trait of joy tempered by sorrow that prevails throughout this collection. Pieces like "Why Can't I Come to You," "At Last I Found You," and "Georgia" seem intent on warming the soul through pensive, painstaking measures. When Waters displays a greater vocal range, as on "Fine and Mellow" and "Lover Man," the results blossom with more blues and greater force. Her piano and compositional skills are highlighted on the fourteen-minute "Touched by Rodin In a Paris Museum." Though she does not sing on this take, the mood remains the same. A far more mature voice concludes the set, with Waters doing a lovely version of "Spring Is Here."
Along with the music, this release by San Francisco-based Water label has several enlightening outtakes between the singer and her recording engineer on "You Thrill Me," "Why Can't I Come to You," and "At Last I Found You." They shed further light on this delicate artist and greater appreciation of her robust art.