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Beverley Church Hogan: Sweet Invitation

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Beverley Church Hogan: Sweet Invitation
In 1984, an American writer named Harriet Doerr published a compelling novel called Stones for Ibarra (Penguin Books). The novel, partly autobiographical, was about rural Mexico. Ms. Doerr's novel was her first. It won a National Book Award. Doerr had attended university for a bit but dropped out to raise a family. She was 74 years old when the book was published.

Of course, there was a small sensation, because few of us break into print in our 70s, winning a National Book Award. Yet as one critic astutely pointed out, Ms. Doerr's age was a distraction from the beauty of her prose, much like Samuel Johnson's dog walking on its hind legs. Doerr's age was beside the point. Her art transcended age.

In a lesser way, the story is much the same for Beverley Church Hogan. A Montreal native, Church Hogan showed early promise as a singer; she won the usual amateur competition; turned up in Los Angeles; was offered a contract by Capitol Records; and then walked away for 45 years to raise a family and have a. life. In 2002, she started performing publicly once again in Southern California, and made quite a splash. Sweet Invitation is not her debut album, but it is a very good one. Should one mention that as of this recording, Church Hogan was 87 years old? You wonder what 87 years old is supposed to sound like, but one presumes it is rarely like this.

Listening to Church Hogan, she recalls the delivery, phrasing, and style of Rosemary Clooney. She does not quite swing like Rosie did, but then Clooney did not make it to 88, so there is no telling what she would have sounded like at the age anyway. Church Hogan is surrounded by topflight players, and she gives them lots of space to blow. Part of it may well be carefully husbanding her resources, but why exclude good taste from the list of possible explanations. Her producer is Mark Winkler, and her arranger is John Proulx, neither of whom is a stranger to good singing. It so happens that "Don' Cha Go 'Way Mad," with which Church Hogan opens, was one of the anthems of the Greatest Generation, and she does it very well indeed, original lyrics somewhat modified and updated. Church Hogan does "Here's That Rainy Day," which Clooney covered as well, and with similar soulfulness. No, she does not reprise "White Cliffs of Dover," opting instead for "Invitation," which is still one of the hippest tunes you can find. Her time is perfect.

Sometimes the listener is inclined to say: "How did I not know about this musician?" Give Beverley Church Hogan's Sweet Invitation a spin, to avoid the same feeling of baffled chagrin.

Track Listing

Don'cha Go 'Way Mad; Falling In Love With Love; Here's That Rainy Day; I Got Lost In His Arms; Invitation; I'm Just Foolin' Myself; What A Way To Go; When October Goes; Why Try To Change Me Now.

Personnel

Beverley Church Hogan: voice / vocals; John Proulx: piano; Bob Sheppard: saxophone, tenor; Grant Geissman: guitar; Lyman Medeiros: bass; Clayton Cameron: drums; Dean Koba: drums; Kevin Winard: drums.

Album information

Title: Sweet Invitation | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Cafe Pacific Records

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