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Betty Carter's Finest Hour

Betty CarterAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 14 Songs, 2003 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2003 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. You're Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do)Betty Carter 1:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. I Can't Help ItBetty Carter 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Babe's BluesBetty Carter 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Medley: I Didn't Know What Time It Was/All The Things You Are/I Could Write A BookBetty Carter 5:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. TightBetty Carter 1:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Open The DoorBetty Carter 5:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. The Trolley SongBetty Carter 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. I Could Write A BookBetty Carter 3:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Social CallBetty Carter 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. What A Little Moonlight Can DoBetty Carter10:17Album Only
listen11. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)Carmen McRae 6:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. The Good LifeBetty Carter 6:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Droppin' ThingsBetty Carter 5:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. In The Still Of The NightBetty Carter 4:06$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 8, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B00008RV03
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,125 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good representation May 10, 2003
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Betty Carter is an acquired taste. Her vocal projection stems exclusively from what "legit" singers refer to as "head tone"; her enunciation can seem unfocused (no one sings with mouth as wide open as Betty); she can frustrate listeners (including this one) who insist on hearing the tune's melody, at least on the first pass. But she's definitely an original, and there's much on this generous anthology (16 tunes, counting the medleys) that's likely to please even the quasi-converts.
Personally, I prefer Betty when she's singing originals and esoterica ("I Can't Help It," "Open the Door," "Tight"). The inclusion of the duet with Carmen McRae ("It Don't Mean a Thing") is also a welcome highlight, contrasting differences in vocal production and approaches to scat singing (Carmen's voice has far more "grain"; Betty's scat is more fluent, Carmen's more thoughtful). I wish Betty had taken jazz singing into the modal areas suggested by Miles and Coltrane, using her chant-like phrasing and plaintive inflections in an even free-er, more incantatory manner.
The best Betty Carter that I've heard is on an out-of-print, unreissued Roulette LP, "Now It's My Turn." If you can't find it, this collection is, all in all, a reasonable substitute.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
If you are a jazz fan and don't know Betty Carter, what a treat you have in store with this CD. Carter is a totally free spirit, almost abandoning the melody, sometimes, to play with it on her own terms, going in new directions and interacting with her accompanists to create new sounds, even on "standards." And she obviously LOVES what she is doing, one of the few performers who really has fun every minute she is on stage (and several tracks here are recorded live). The result is a CD that makes the listener as happy as the performer--an upbeat, bebop, scat-filled, and uptempo collection that never lets down for an instant.

Carter blends with her band(s) on many tracks, the timbre of her voice sometimes sounding like a "blatty" trumpet and sometimes like a mellow sax, and she provides many opportunities for her musicians to take the song in new directions, to which she responds in kind. If the song is a standard and you know the melody, you will have no difficulty finding it within the variations and improvisations. "The Trolley Song," a song I have never liked, (from The Audience with Betty Carter) becomes a "new" and thoroughly delightful song in Betty's hands, especially when she delays her lyrics, staying behind the band. Filled with humor and high-octane playfulness, she musically mugs with the audience and keeps them chuckling as the trolley finally runs down.

Her duet with Carmen McRae, "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," (a track from "
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dancing around the tune July 2, 2007
Format:Audio CD
This brilliant collection, spanning a great part of Carter's obviously remarkable career is highly exciting; although accompanied by some fine musicians, Betty is a true star, using her voice like an instrument, in the manner very few singers do.

Very rarely have I heard such great modern jazz singing; she's full of rhythm, wit, harmonically advanced in a be-bop fashion, and, if it's not an overstatement, I think she approaches standards in a manner reminiscent of Thelonious Monk...

The duet with Carmen McRae is a real treat (both singers are great, modern and highly individual) and Betty's originals are equally rewarding as her flights of fancy based on the standards. I don't know is this Betty's finest hour, but such a fine hour of jazz is always welcome on my CD player.

Incidently, I own only one other Betty's album - a duet project with Ray Charles on which she shows the genius of popular music a thing or two about creative singing (I like Ray's singing very much, but she is in a different league altogether - she bellongs with Billie and Sarah).
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