Cathi Hayes, Lu Ann Simms (vcl), Barney Kessel (g, arr, dir), Dave Terry (dir), Conte Candoli, Joe Wilder (tp), Bud Shank (as), Bill Perkins, Ted Nash (ts), Justin Gordon (bs), Jimmy Rowles, Hank Jones (p), Howard Roberts (g), Monty Budwig (b), Shelly Manne (d)
Reference: FSR V121 CD
Bar code: 8427328641210
The Best Voices Time Forgot
Collectible Albums by Top Female Vocalists
· Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
It's All Right with Me
Cathi Hayes (Milwaukee, 1935) began singing in Seattle, Washington, in 1953, along with her brother Jerry, in a five-vocal group called “The Signatures.” They soon became instrumentally proficient with Cathi on vibes. Then in 1958 she left to join a versatile and exciting group called “Gus ‘n’ Us,” directed by Gus Mancuso. In October that same year, Cathi began her career as a single at the Facks club in San Francisco. After eight months working the club circuit, she headed to Hollywood, where she became a prominent attraction at Dean Martin’s restaurant Dino’s. It was then —while still swinging at the bistro— that she recorded her only album —"It's All Right with Me"— emerging as a new, individual artist of quality. Guitarist Barney Kessel, who took care of the superlative arrangements, described her as “a very adventurous singer who, I’m convinced, sings for the sheer love of it. As to her style, she’s in a cool groove, all right, but she’s not derivative in any way.”
At Separate Tables
Lu Ann Simms (1932-2003) was born in Rochester, New York, and first bowed to an audience at the age of three, while singing for a local radio station. She got her singing break after auditioning on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, which she won in 1952. From then on, she performed regularly on the Godfrey television show for three years, and became so popular that she even inspired the best-selling Lu Ann Simms doll. Then in 1957 she signed with Jubilee, recording her only LP for this label in the fall of 1958: "At Separate Tables." On this album we find Lu Ann at her best, singing with feeling and warmth a dozen Harry Warren songs, all from pictures. The arranger-conductor behind the singer was Dave Terry. Unfortunately, her career was shaken in 1959 by the death of her first husband and manager Loring Buzzell, and despite attempts to return to the stage, little by little her star faded.
"Continuing Fresh Sounds’ The Best Voices Time Forgot series, this double set unearths another two singers whose names are likely to be little known, if at all. Here, happily, they are lifted out of the sands of time and given a welcome airing.
Milwaukee-born Cathi Hayes started out in a five-piece vocal group and spent some of her career singing at Dean Martin’s restaurant, Dino’s. Here, on the only album she recorded, she is cool and bopping, a real hepcat, backed by a tight, tense brass section. Chris Connor is immediately brought to mind with her smooth, summery sound and precise, on-the-nose diction; Hayes’ vocal yawns wide with only a tease of vibrato. Refreshing, off-the-beaten-track song choices include the disarming You Smell So Good, backed by minimal, sparkling guitar from Barney Kessel (who also arranged all the charts here).
Hayes’ joy in her craft is palpable, and the orchestral backing tasteful (no overzealous strings here), and while songs like If I Were A Bell are deliciously light and swinging, her vocal also surges and ebbs with appropriate emotion on ballads like Last Night When We Were Young.
Next up on this set is Lu Ann Simms from New York State, whose popularity during the early 50s translated into a best-selling Lu Ann Simms doll (pictured in the liner notes). Her vocal is quite different to Hayes’ – a trilling, caramel-sweet, slightly corny sound in the Doris Day tradition, but edged with a little sharpness reminiscent of Dinah Washington.
This is a sleepy, lullaby land of an album, with cooing backing chorus and so much echo on Simms’ vocal she could be singing from the bottom of a well. The tracks proceed at an extremely leisurely pace, in sweetly soporific style; but depending on your mood, this may be no bad thing. When Simms’ vibrato is given full rein, it’s gloriously multi-tonic.
These two albums go to show how much the singer whose name does become known is a random affair – why have we heard of Chris Connor but not Cathi Hayes? Well, for a million different reasons, but the relative quality of their voices isn’t one of them."
Sally Evans-Darby (May 5, 2020)
"It's simply bewildering how many excellent vocalists have been overlooked over the years. Each of these single disc reissues of two albums is chock full of wonderful and personal singing that is going to make you wonder “how did I ever not know about this music?”. Well, wonder no more.
Cathi Hayes coos with a West Coast 1959 orchestra led by famed bop guitarist Barney Kessel and including Hollywood session masters Conte Condoli/tp, Bud Shank/asfl, Bill Perkins/ts, Shelly Manne/dr and Jimmy Rowles/p. Her teaming with Kessel is gloriously desultory on “You Don’t Know What Love It” tenderly intimate for “Last Night When We Were Young” and cozy on ”You Smell So Good”. A dash of June Christy gives an icy hot “My Old Flame” as well as a dreamy “What Is This Thing Called Love”. Ooh la la!
Lu Ann Sims has a poppish voice on this doo-woppy session from 1958 with Dave Terry’s Orchestra featuring Joe Wilder/tp and Hank Jones/p. She is wanderlust with strings on “The More I See You” and “I Only Have Eyes For You” and is sweet as cider on “Ooh That Kiss” while teaming up well with Jones on “I Wish I Knew”. The chorus on “Separate Tables” and “There Will Never Be Another You” along with “Separate Tables” give a bit of a date to the session, but it works well."
George W. Harris (April 13, 2020)