Margie Day had already enjoyed a lengthy career prior to recording these two albums in the late 1960s, scoring top ten rhythm 'n' blues hits as the featured female vocalist with the Griffin Brothers band in 1951. In the intervening period of course, popular taste moved on apace, rendering her efforts here essentially as sides out of time. That's no bad thing however, as it makes the task of assessing her abilities as a singer of interpretative flair a whole lot easier, and whatever it takes to turn a technically accomplished singer into a moving one, it's clear that she had it.
Her voice is like an amalgam of Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday and Carla Thomas, with her upper register in particular evoking the last of the trio. What she shares with Holiday is an interpretive depth that some of the songs here simply don't deserve. The doggerel of "Over The Rainbow" is a case in point, but it's counteracted by her way with a lyric she seems better able to get her teeth into. On a bed of sumptuous strings she teases something out of "It's All Right With Me," making a case that still manages to be persuasive despite her singular phrasing.
Jimmy Webb's "I Keep It Hid" comes off well here, not least because Day teases something out of it in a way that the British singer Vivienne McAuliffe did with the band Affinity on Webb's "Sunshower." The thing that unites the two radically different songs is the singer's shared depth of interpretation, and Day pulls the same feat off on the following "Time Doesn't Matter Anymore," aided in no small part by a sympathetic arrangement.
Ray Ellis's arrangement on "Don't Pay Them No Mind" throws Day's voice into stark relief, but the combination of the two is persuasive in the extreme, Day showing what a telling reader she could be. She also perhaps unwittingly sets out a case for telling singing as so much more than a matter of mere technical fireworks; here nuance and emphasis are of far greater importance, suggesting that the skills of the actress have their use outside the realm of physical performance.
Track Listing: Walk Away; Am I Blue?; Wouldn't It Be Lovely?; Over The Rainbow; As Time Goes By; It's All Right With Me; Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love); Much Too Long; In Times Like These; Ain't It The Truth; What Does He Think; If The Laugh-In Don't Kill Me; I Keep It Hid; Time Doesn't Matter Anymore; Ever Livin' Lovin? Program Plan; Rainbow People; I Thought About You; Don't Pay Them No Mind; Let's Start All Over Again; Maybe You?ll Be There; Wine In The Wind.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.