required listening

CD Review

VARIOUS ARTISTS  -  Jazzy Ladies of Society Hill Records

Society Hill/Essential Media (US) 942326792-2

JEAN CARNE-Give It Up/TONI RICHARDS-Like A Lover/CARLA BENSON-I Close My Eyes/MARKI FIELDS-Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)/ROZ RYAN-Waiting For My Lover/VANESSA FARLEY-One Last Memory/BRANDI WELLS-I Love You/CORETTA DAVIS-I Wish You Love/VICKI AUSTIN-Good Morning Heartache/BARBARA MASON-I’m So In Love With You/WARDELL PIPER-I’m In Love With You/BOBBI WALKER-More Than A Prayer

This collection of twelve Butch Ingram productions brings together recent recordings for Society Hill Records, many of which have been on full-length cds by the artistes in question so, despite being (comparatively) new offerings, I guess they still fit into the ‘archive material’ bracket.  However, there’s not really any need for categorisation - just ‘an enjoyable variety of female-sung numbers’ should do absolutely fine.  The bulk of the material comes from various Philadelphia-based songbooks but occasionally the path strays away, as in the case of strong-voiced Coretta Davis‘ interpretation of ‘I Wish You Love’, taken over a nice floaty backdrop, Vicki Austin delivering Billie Holiday’s ‘Good Morning Heartache‘ in reverential fashion to a forthright piano support and Toni Richards‘ ‘Like A Lover‘, the Latin-flavoured number first cut by Sergio Mendes in 1968 and written by Alan & Marilyn Bergman with Dori Caymmi.  Elsewhere, things open with the jazziest treatment on display, as Jean Carne weaves her way through the midtempo ‘Give It Up’, Marki Fields purrs over a slinky ‘Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)‘, Vanessa Farley’s ‘One Last Memory‘ is another cut to contain a chunky beat and Barbara Mason remains in as fine a voice as ever with the Frank Austin ballad, ‘I’m So In Love With You’.  With a near identical title - ‘I’m In Love With You’ - one time First Choice group member, Wardell Piper gives us a string-laden rippler and top-notch ballads come by way of ‘I Close My Eyes‘ from Carla Benson, Roz Ryan’s ‘Waiting For My Lover‘, Brandi Wells‘ ‘I Love You‘ and the whole closes in the classiest fashion indeed with Bobbi Walker’s self-penned ‘More Than A Prayer’.

review posted 28/8/18