Reference: FSR V111 CD
Bar code: 8427328641111
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
· Complete Personnel Details
· Mono Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
A Hayes Named Martha
There were many singers around in the ‘50s—out and out pop singers, pop singers who had forsaken jazz, jazz-tinged singers, jazz influenced singers—but very few jazz singers. Martha Hayes spoke in the jazz tradition with a contemporary feeling. On her album A Hayes Named Martha, her interpretation, phrasing and swing, coupled with her emotional depth is what turned her vocals into actual jazz. She had a natural, unaffected voice, at times reminiscent of Billie Holiday. The jazz mood is expertly set by the solos and background accompaniment of Steve Foster and Lou Fratturo, the perfect complement to the jazz voice of Martha Hayes.
Ilene Woods was a singer and actress best known for her role as the title character in Disney’s 1950 animated film, Cinderella. While the film’s success was a boon to Disney Studios during a time of financial hardship, it also made Ilene’s a familiar face on TV, as she became a regular in the shows of Perry Como, Arthur Godfrey, and Garry Moore all through the 50’s. She retired from show business in the early 1970s to become a portrait artist. Her only album It’s Late (1957) is an exciting showcase for Ilene’s bright, sad voice. It is full of emotion and assurance, delivered with sensitive phrasing, and Ilene’s sophisticated approach never detracts from her honesty in this carefully chosen set of tunes. Just listening to Miss Woods is a pleasure, as she makes it all sound so simple over the tasteful background led by the talented pianist Bill Clifton.
"Jordi Pujol at Fresh Sound deserves credit for his many services to fans of jazz singing old and new and in particular for the series The Best Voices Time Forgot, of which this CD is an example.
Martha Hayes performed as a singer-pianist in clubs in the early and mid-1950s and also studied at Juilliard and with Hall Overton. Drawing upon the Great American Songbook for her repertoire, she delivers admirable interpretations of standards, which have, perhaps, become overused in the 60-plus years since this recording. That said, her approach to the material is lively and thoroughly engaging, her vocal sound youthful yet assured, and she sings with a lithe swing.
Accompanied ably by the Steve Foster Quartet, Hayes delivers relaxed and thoroughly engaging interpretations of nine well-known songs. Some of the titles are familiar to us through what have become well known, even definitive performances – for example, Peggy Lee and Fever, Billie Holiday and Good Morning, Heartache – and it says much for the quality of this singer that her versions are by no means outclassed. Speaking of Holiday, there are several moments when she comes to mind, not through any attempt at imitation, but rather through the singer’s style. Ira Gitler’s original album notes are included and serve as a lesson for those of us who strive to write on the subject of jazz singing.
The second album included on this CD brings back into the spotlight another talented singer from the 1950s. Although, that said, perhaps Ilene Woods is better known today than many might suspect even if her name rings few bells. Back then, singers who appeared on motion-picture soundtracks were rarely, if ever, credited and hence remained unknown. In this instance, Woods provided the singing voice for the title character in Walt Disney’s 1950 classic Cinderella.
Her vocal sound is true and always melodic, her diction crystal clear, and while not a jazz singer she is a very good interpreter of classic popular songs. On the evidence of this, which appears to be the only album Woods recorded, she is on par with some of the better-known names of the era. Indeed, she merits more attention than some who sang on through later decades. Sadly, that was not for her and by the 1970s she had changed direction to become a portrait painter. The arrangements are uncomplicated with a few interpolated solos. About the original album notes for this set, which are also here, perhaps the less said the better.
The two LPs were released as, respectively, Jubilee JLP 1023 and JLP 1046. Ilene Woods died in 2010, but so far I have been unable to discover what became of Martha Hayes."
Bruce Crowther (September 12, 2019)
"Fresh Sound Records continues its brilliant idea of reissuing sessions from the 50s and 60s from female vocalists that underservedly got overlooked. It was a time when there was a surfeit of these ladies, and while it wasn’t due to the quality of their voice, style or music, simply got lost in the crowd. Take advantage of this second chance. You’re in for a treat!
Martha Hayes had a tone and delivery that gives dashes of mid to late period Billie Holiday as she teams up with a hip quartet lead by pianist Steve Foster along with Ray Alexander/b, Don Russo/b and Fratturo/as. Hayes is sensuous throughout this blue mooded session, glowing on “My Myself” and “Good Morning Heartache” while Fratturo cuts through the dark like a sharp knife on a searing “Black Coffee.” Gloriously desultory throughout; a must for fans of long shadows.
Ilene Woods was used as vocalist for the 1950 Disney film Cinderella, also appearing on numerous TV shows during the 50s. This 1957 album is her only release, and it’s a lush and sensitive beauty. She’s supported by an orchestra directed by arranger Bill Clifton, and she floats with the flutes on “Estrellita” and sizzles to the congas on “What A Difference A Day Makes.” Sensitive treatments of “If You Were Mine” and “When Your Lover Has Gone” show an alluring and attractive mastery of lyrics and moods, right up there with Sinatra’s Where Are You? album of the same circa. A real treat."
George W. Harris (July 1, 2019)