Reference: FSR V138 CD
Bar code: 8427328641388
THIS PRODUCT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN THE U.S.
The Best Voices Time Forgot
Collectible Albums by Top Female Vocalists
· Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art
· Complete Personnel Details
· New liner Notes
· Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
Time Out for Tears
Savannah Churchill (1920-1974) gained national recognition in the late 1940s as the most unique ballad and rhythm & blues singer of the day. Employing a sultry style and suggestive lyrics, the one-time choir singer was cashing in on one hit after the other, selling some fourmillion copies of her torchy tunes. In late 1956, she considered retiring due to a broken hip resulting from a freak accident and causing severe debilitating injuries from which she would never fully recover. After being confined to a wheelchair for 18 months, Savannah gradually resumed her nightclub career in the summer of 1958 while walking with a cane. In 1960, she recorded the album Time Out for Tears, for the Philadelphia-based Jamie label.On this excellent LP (the only one of her career) accompanied by an orchestra arranged and conducted by Robert Mersey, she brought some of her old hits back to life, and introduced several new bluesy ballads that flawlessly suited her soulful, inimitable singing style. In January 1961, Jet magazine called her the “comeback of the year.” Sadly, her health was significantly declining and it eventually forced her to retire. She died in 1974 at the age of 53.
Her Name is Erma
Erma ranklin (1938-2004), like her younger sisters Aretha and Carolyn, began singing in the church choir of her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, minister of the largest Baptist congregation in Detroit. Erma’s voice, shaped by gospel singing, held great promise as a rhythm and blues singer when she was still in high school. However, it would be Aretha who would first gain fame as a solo singer, while Erma had to finish her studies before her father allowed her to start a career in show business. Later, in 1961, following in Aretha’s footsteps, Erma auditioned favorably for Epic and moved to New York for a series of recording dates with the label’s producer, Al Kasha. Her first album, Her Name Is Erma, with jazz flavored standards mixed with pop tunes with a gospel feel, received a rave review of four stars on Billboard: “Erma Franklin, older sister of Aretha, shows off her warm and striking vocal stylings in exciting fashion on this new waxing. A fine flock of performances by an exceptional new talent.” Unfortunately, even though she was a remarkably endowed singer, Erma did not have the luck or support she deserved from record companies, and furthermore, her career was unfairly overshadowed by the fabulous artistic dimension of her sister Aretha.
"Spain-based Fresh Sound Records brings up another pair of singers I’m sure you’ve never heard of, but wish you had. This time, the two LPs on one CD focus on R&B-styled vocalists, somewhere close to Dinah Washington or Dakota Stanton. The results are a welcome addition to the Golden Age of female vocalist.
First up is is Savanna Churchill (1920-1974) who actually had a number one hit back in the day, with “I Want To Be Loved”, which is included here. This 1960 album has her backed by Robert Mersey’s Orchestra, which includes a string section. She’s got a rich “come hither” lilt to her voice, expressive and seductive on “Be Anything (But Be Mine)” and agonizingly blue on “I Almost Lost My Mind”, not in a rush at all to let out each rhythmic syllable. There’s only one standards, a noir’d take of “Summertime” with the balance leaning towards sophisticated soul.
Next up is Erma Franklin (1938-2002), who’s also tamed up with Robert Mersey on this collection recorded in 61-61. Her style has a touch more gospel feel to it, working on standards like “Time After Time” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”. She adds texture to “Detour Ahead” and sounds a lot like her sister Aretha on “What Kind Of Girl (Do You On Think I Am)”, letting loose on the churchified “Each Night I Cry” and the bluesy “It’s Over”. This is a real surprise of a find, making you wonder what a fuller catalogue and career would have turned into. The booklet for both albums have a good background writeup as well as liner notes. Polished soul."
—George W. Harris (March 9, 2023)
"There are so many great R&B balladeers who are virtually unknown today. Their anonymity is largely a result of recording singles geared for jukeboxes in bars and clubs in black communities. Most didn't receive much promotional support or exposure at the time in white markets or on TV, and most record conglomerates today don't bother surfacing past artists beyond the profitable rock and soul era.
One of these glorious balladeers was Savannah Churchill, who had a beautiful, smooth voice and was a star in the 40s and '50s, and recorded for Columbia, RCA, Decca, Manor and other top labels. Her records with male singers such as the Sentimentalists, the Striders and the Four Tunes helped launch R&B's vocal harmony sound, which led to Doo-Wop and Soul in the 50s. She also appeared in Miracle in Harlem (1948) and Souls of Sin (1949), two feature films with all-black casts.
Churchill was hugely popular at black clubs and theaters. Tragedy struck in late 1956, at the Midwood Club in Brooklyn, when a drunk fell from the balcony directly on top of her, breaking her pelvis and causing long-term injuries from which she never fully recovered. Churchill could still record and, in September 1960, she recorded her first and only 12-inch album for Philadelphia's Jamie label, covering songs that she had made hits in the past. The string arrangements were by Robert Mersey, who scored them in the style used then by Dinah Washington.
Now, Fresh Sound has released Churchill's sole album as part of its "The Best Voices Time Forgot" series on a two-fer with Erma Franklin's Her Name is Erma. Interestingly, Churchill was first to release Time Out for Tears in 1947 on Manor. Dinah Washington wouldn't record the song until 1950.
The album is uniformly excellent, with Churchill delivering one soft interpretation after the next. The tracks are Time Out for Tears, Be Anything (But Mine), Foolishly Yours, I Promise It Won't Happen Again, It Is Too Late, I Almost Lost My Mind, Summertime, It's Too Soon to Know, She's Only Got Herself to Blame, I Know I'm Good for You, A Little Place in Your Heart and I Want to Be Loved. The last two are bonus tracks.
Savannah Churchill died in April 1974 from pneumonia. She was 58."
—Marc Myers (March 9, 2023)