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Anita Ellis: Out in Front

Craig Jolley By

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One of the most talented and sensitive vocalists of her time (40's - 70's) Anita Ellis made few records or public appearances and acquired something of a cult following. She had no problem in front of a few close friends, but she never overcame her stage fright. Luckily for her audience she could occasionally be talked into enduring the terror of public performance.

This music was recorded in the early fifties for radio broadcast. As with her contemporaries Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Williams her most intimate and compatible accompaniment was Ellis Larkins with as few other musicians as possible, preferably none. Here she is backed by an anonymous, violin-dominated studio orchestra. Ellis was blessed with a rich voice, but she rarely brought it to bear, preferring to undersing. She embraced slower tempos.

The tunes run the gamut, but Ellis generally makes the most of them. A couple of dogs ("The Money Song" and "Girls Were Made To Take Care Of Boys") are beyond salvage. Ellis is at her most affecting interpreting better show tunes ("More Than You Know," "In Love in Vain") where her phrasing and imagery bring the lyrics to life. Explanation trivializes her message, but an example from "Someone to Watch Over Me:" "Won't you tell him please to follow my lead. Oh how I need...." She quivers slightly on "my" and sings a descending melisma on "how"—touching and wholly natural.

The sound and overall CD production are first class.

Additional information: http://www.soundies.com/catalog


Track Listing: They Can't Take That Away From Me; More Than You Know; Put The Blame On Mame; The Money Song; My Darling, My Darling; Girls Were Made To Take Care Of Boys; (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons; Oh, But I Do!; I Don't Know Why; For You, For Me, Forever More; The Whole World Is Singing My Song; A Sunday Kind Of Love; In Love In Vain; Atlanta, G.A.; I'll Close My Eyes; Amado Mio; Come Rain Or Come Shine; I Can't Begin To Tell You; A Garden In The Rain; Someone To Watch Over Me; If I Were The Only Girl; Stardust; Somewhere In The Night; You Can't See The Sun When You

Personnel: Anita Ellis - vocals; others unknown.

Title: Out in Front | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Soundies

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