What can I say about Rosemary Clooney that I’ve not said hundreds of times before — that she is one of the most charming and intelligent interpreters of popular song that it has ever been my pleasure to hear and appreciate. These fourteen examples of Rosie’s uncommon artistry, recorded between 1949 and ’56, include four from her own favorite album from that era, on which she is accompanied by the marvelous Duke Ellington Orchestra. The earliest selection, “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” (with Hugo Winterhalter’s orchestra and chorus), dates from 1949 when Rosie was barely out of her teens and a scant two years before she recorded the breakthrough hits “Half as Much” and “Tenderly” (with Percy Faith’s orchestra). While she’s had more than her share of ups and downs since then, the pipes are in grade–A shape and she remains in her seventies one of the finest singers on the scene. But that is now, and this was then. Besides the songs already mentioned, Rosie sings three (“When You Wish Upon a Star,” “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening,” “You’ll Never Know”) with trumpeter Harry James’ orchestra, two (“I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face,” “Too Young”) with Paul Weston, one (“You Make Me Feel So Young”) with Norman Leyden and a second (“Blues in the Night”) with Faith’s orchestra. Most are string–laden and saccharine, but Rosie shines through no matter how prosaic the setting. The exceptions are the numbers with Ellington, which swing easily and include some brief but persuasive solos by trumpeter Clark Terry. Clooney’s fans should be quite familiar with these early snapshots of her unrivaled artistry; others should hear for themselves why she’s generally thought of as one of the best “girl singers” popular music has ever known.
Contact:North Star Records, 22 London St., East Greenwich, RI 02818.
Track Listing: I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart; Tenderly; I Got It Bad (And That Ain
Personnel: Rosemary Clooney, vocals, with orchestras conducted by Duke Ellington, Percy Faith, Hugo Winterhalter, Harry James, Paul Weston, Norman Leyden.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.