- Audio CD (August 14, 2001)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Concord Records
- ASIN: B00005MKGK
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,814 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Genre: Jazz Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 14-AUG-2001
Susannah McCorkle picked the 14 tracks on this 2001 compilation of previous recordings by considering the requests from her cabaret audiences. The selections fit into three general categories: great standards by the likes of Gershwin and Porter ("They Can't Take That Away from Me," "Easy to Love"); Brazilian pop (including the hypnotic "Waters of March," which became her signature song); and those quirky little songs that capture the listener with their intelligence and heart ("Quality Time").
It's a beautiful tribute to the well-loved singer, but one accompanied with sadness. Her longtime recording label declined to release a new album in 2001, opting instead for this compilation. She participated fully in the project (even writing the liner notes), but the inevitable disappointment along with the cancellation of her usual autumn gig at New York's Algonquin Hotel were widely speculated to have contributed to her tragic suicide in May of that year. --David Horiuchi
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Yet Susannah is not the easiest "sell." Her voice is not going to bowl you over like Eva Cassidy's, seduce you like Diana Krall's, or intimately embrace you like Shirley Horn's. There's often a "tired" quality to her tones, a rough-edged coolness along with hints of strain and pain. Her indebtedness to Billie Holiday, especially late Lady Day, is more than a little apparent. What may be lacking in vocal equipment is readily compensated for by sheer musical intelligence.
But the reason Susannah was so essential is that she was one of the few remaining interpreters and representatives of the American Songbook. We live in an age when the production and synthesis of music have replaced performance and interpretation. The artist and the material are inseparable, a single commodity. Imagine the absurdity of even considering the way a Michael Jackson or Elton John, a Madonna or Britanny Spears interprets a good song. Popular art is no longer about interpretation--the performer's or the listener's. It's simply about the manufacture and marketing of a product.
Susannah felt so strongly about the songs she sang that, as she relates in the album notes, she sat through Fred Astaire's "Shall We Dance" 3 times in order to jot down all the lyrics of the Gershwin tunes. Wonderful songs, according to her, are what "chronicle our lives, cheer us up, and keep us company." For the listener who takes songs as seriously as Susannah, this is an indispensable album. She brings to bossa nova tunes a raw, tragic quality lacking in the mellow Astrud Gilberto orginals; she literally "becomes" Chet Baker in her reprise of his performance of "Look for the Silver Lining"; she brings to life the latent power of the songs of Kern, Gershwin, Porter, enabling us to experience the ways in which their songs reveal us to ourselves.
In one sense, this collection is a more satisfying album than Susannah's last recording session, "Hearts and Minds." That program includes so much ironically sad and autobiographical material as to be a trifle depressing. Thankfully, one of the real "keepers" from that date, "For All We Know," is included in this self-selected anthology.
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