Hip singer, splendid album. To elaborate — New York–based songstress Mary Foster Conklin, who obviously loves what she does, goes around the block and back to avoid the obvious on You’d Be Paradise,
complementing no less than four sophisticated tunes by the inimitable Bob Dorough with one each by David Cantor (“Nirvana”), Tom Waits (“Broken Bicycles”) and Michel Legrand (“The Windmills of Your Mind”), King Pleasure’s wry commentary on Stan Getz’s opus “Don’t Get Scared,” a brace of venerable Cole Porter standards (“My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To”) and Matt Dennis / Thomas Adair’s plaintive lament, “Everything Happens to Me” (set to a pleasant Latin beat, but one that fails to capture the essence of Dennis’ heart–rending version). Conklin has a clear and charming mid–range voice, knows how to sell a lyric, and is reinforced by the presence of a world–class rhythm section that knows when to press and when to ease up. She has chosen some lovely melodies, none of which has been restated enough to grow stale, even Porter’s classics from the first half of the twentieth century. Dorough’s insouciant “Devil May Care” is a tantalizing curtain–raiser, and his lovely ballad “But for Now” is no less agreeable, nor are Waits’ perceptive “Broken Bicycles,” Cantor’s touching “Nirvana” or the better–known “Windmills of Your Mind,” which Conklin says she heard Legrand sing in French on a July 4 evening in the Big Apple. Conklin wraps the package neatly with Dorough / Lynn Gibson’s witty “Right on My Way Home,” ably abetted, as she is on every number, by the impressively compatible foursome of Mays, Vignola, Burr and Ascione who commit themselves uncompromisingly to the task at hand. Playing time is less than fifty minutes, but Conklin and her companions make each of them shine. Hip singer, splendid album.
Contact:Mock Turtle Music, P.O. Box 528, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10011. E–mail email@example.com; web sites, www.maryfosterconklin.com, www.cdbaby.com/conklin
Personnel: Mary Foster Conklin, vocals; Bill Mays, piano; Frank Vignola, guitar; Jon Burr, bass; Joe Ascione, drums.