Three albums into her belated solo profession, Rebecca Ferguson has decided to gamble all her tough won credibility on this heartfelt love letter to Billie Holliday and the Great American Songbook. In starting up to report Lady Sings the Blues, a double albums well worth of Tin Pan Alley requirements that consists of such venerable songs as “Embraceable You”, “That Ole Devil Called Love”, “Don’t Explain” and “All Of Me”, there may be no question that Ferguson has intentionally set herself a mountain to climb. After all, it turned into none aside from Frank Sinatra himself who credited the mythical Lady Day with being “his single greatest musical have an effect on”. The reality that she so without difficulty scales these dizzying heights on Lady Sings the Blues, can not help however take the listeners’ breath away!
The album, recorded in LA’s Capitol 가락동가라오케 Studios, kicks off with modern unmarried, “Get Happy”, a skittish take on the debut composition of the Cotton Club’s then in-residence song-writing duo, Ted Koehler and Harold Arlen, but in reality hits its stride with a sassy, finger-snapping version of Holiday’s “Fine and Mellow” and a silky analyzing of the Gershwin brothers’ “Embraceable You”. The staggering first-class is maintained with an innovative re-running of Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Mercer’s jazz standard “I Thought approximately You” a wistful re-telling of “Willow Weep for Me” and a suitably breezy version of Koehler and Arlen’s biggest hit, “Stormy Weather”. Knock out performances just keep right on coming, Ferguson is vexed and bemused on the flawlessly pitched “What is that this factor referred to as Love”, then downbeat and doleful on the fatalistic “Lover Man”.
A big quantity of credit for this luxurious album should go to producer/arranger/conductor and percussionist, Troy Miller. Miller’s CV takes some beating – he’s worked with Adele, Amy Winehouse and Donna Summer among others, and is presently earning a crust as Laura Mvula’s musical director. His decorous preparations are vividly added to existence through an ace combo of veteran sidemen, providing the modern-day director of the Count Basie Orchestra, Scotty Barnhart on Trumpet, Chuck Berghofer on bass, Ricky Woodward on Tenor Saxophone and Barbra Streisand’s long time accompanist Tamir Hendelman on the Piano.
Miller’s pertinent preparations permit Ferguson the gap to unveil every songs again story, adding only a splash of piano and Bob Shepherd’s flute to the honeyed hush of her vocal at the heartrending “Don’t Explain”, or introducing a confined, dexterous trumpet, to gently tease out the melancholic hue of George Gershwin’s “Summertime”. However, the album’s standout music would possibly simply be the Marks and Simons toe-tapper, “All of Me”. This track’s entire-hearted lyric frequently consequences in an overwrought vocal, making Ferguson’s uniquely understated delivery, here, all of the extra excellent. The music, it should be stated, loses not an oz. Of its ardour or commitment in Miller’s greater salubrious placing.
Perhaps, even though, the biggest marvel of Lady Sings the Blues is Ferguson’s clearly immaculate phrasing. Her huskily mellifluous voice has lengthy been regarded, but those three-minute masterpieces demand a incredible deal greater from a singer. This time-honoured collection of songs, immortalised through the excellent crooners and jazz singers of the 40s and fifties, constitutes a authentic American artwork form. Each of the greats has rubber-stamped those songs with their very own specific pizzazz, (Brooklyn born vocalist Julius LaRosa motives that Sinatra, via virtue of his intuitive phrasing, turned into able to show a thirty- bar song into a three-act play).
What a pleasure, then, to hear a younger British singer cut a document of such breathtaking accomplishment, to take those canonical songs in her stride, to sing them with such an intimate understanding and expertise, as if each had been written for her or approximately her. A feat that becomes all the greater remarkable, when Ferguson with no trouble admits to having been unusual with some of those songs before recording the initial demos! Whether it is on jaunty, bubbling numbers, like Rodgers and Hart’s hardy perennial, “Blue Moon”, or right at the opposite give up of the emotional scale on Ruth Lowe’s desolate ballad, “I’ll Never Smile Again”, she’s proper on the cash, her pin-factor phrasing and resourceful technique fleshing out the real meaning of every lyric.
With Lady Sings the Blues, a beguiling, luxuriant paintings of eye-watering loveliness, Rebecca Ferguson has staked a declare to be taken into consideration the first-class British singer of her generation. Believe me, this album is that correct!