Reference: FSR V126 CD
Bar code: 8427328641265
The Best Voices Time Forgot
Collectible Albums by Top Female Vocalists
· Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Bonus Tracks
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
This is Sheila
In the 1940s and 1950s, Sheila Guyse (1925-2013) was a popular, well-loved figure both on stage and screen, comparable to such stars as Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Ruby Dee, all black actresses who broke through racial barriers. In 1943, at 18, she won first prize at the Apollo amateur contest, and was thoroughly thrilled when informed that she was the latest in a long line of winners that included Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Ruth Brown. She was labeled by New York critics as “Lena Horne’s newest rival.” In 1958, at 30, she recorded her only LP album, "This is Sheila," accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Leroy Holmes. In it, she exhibits the vocal personality of an unfettered singer, managing to impart with conviction and elan a sense of immediacy and vitality to a widely varied repertoire. The band provides some swinging and warmly pulsing support. Jet magazine described her as “a glamorous, high-octane performer under supper club spotlights.”
Sugar & Spice
Joya Sherrill (1924-2010) was seventeen when Duke Ellington hired her as a singer in 1942. The reason, she had written the lyrics for the bandleader’s theme song 'Take the 'A' Train,' in the young girl’s own words, “just for fun.” National acclaim would come to Joya soon thereafter with her 1944 performance of Ellington’s 'I’m Beginning to See the Light.' She left the band in early 1946, but continued to work with Ellington occasionally over the next two decades. “Duke would call me for jobs once a year at least,” she would admit. In 1959, Joya wrote the songs of her first album "Sugar and Spice," mixing the basic concepts of original lullabies with the more adult approach of jazz. Musical accompaniment and arrangements were provided by Luther Henderson, a famed Broadway orchestrator and arranger who had also worked with Ellington. Through her career, she sang in a long list of theaters scattered quite literally from coast to coast, and in 1962 emerged again in a big way when she was chosen to accompany the Benny Goodman Orchestra in a tour of Russia under U.S. Government auspices.
"Of these two is Fresh Sound’s The Best Voices Time Forgot series one (Guyse) has a background which has largely been hidden from history, while Sherrill, thanks in no small part to her Ellington association, surely qualifies as the least forgotten.
As it is, with this release not only do we get an original album per singer but also bonus tracks, the last one credited to Guyse and the last six credited to Sherrill. These fill in the picture to the optimum point given the time that’s passed.
At the age of 15 or thereabouts Guyse made an appearance at one of the amateur performer contests at the Apollo in Harlem, which in the early 1940s was probably the nearest thing to the current glut of TV talent shows. Later on in the same decade she appeared in the Broadway musical Memphis Bound, and approximately 13 years later she cut the album under the spotlight here, which documents a singer with more heart in that nebulous notion which is superior pop than in jazz as such. That said, she knows how to swing, as she does on Let There Be Love, in an arrangement so boisterous it would be hard for any singer not to.
Easy Does It embodies the title nicely, and with such élan that it might have found a comfy home in that hour of Radio Two’s Sunday schedules that Alan Dell used to occupy. If there’s any justice in this world I’m Glad There Is You might find a similar home in the hour currently occupied by Don Black.
Sherrill got her first Ellington gig in 1942, at the age of 17, while a couple of years after the album discussed here was released she was touring what was then the Soviet Union with a Goodman band. The depth of experience implied by that is arguably the major contributor to the musical success of an album of lullabies-with-jazz, which in lesser hands might have resulted only in so much schmaltz.
Rain Rain Go Away is given a veneer of maturity which increases rather than usurps the frivolity of the song, while Three Blind Mice finds the protagonists transformed into hard-drinking swingers who see the error of their ways.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star gets an arrangement of the type which, were it written today, would sound ersatz, possibly because experienced studio musicians like Richardson just aren’t out there anymore."
—Nic Jones (November 9, 2020)
"Just when you think there are no more ladies at the jazz microphone, Barcelona-based Fresh Sound Records does some fracking and comes up with more black gold!
Sheila Guyse was a triple threat, making a career in film, Broadway and as a
vocalist. This 1958 album has her backed by an orchestra directed by LeRoy Holmes.
She has a highly polished sound, and uses her vibrato at will on most of the pieces
such as “You Took Advantage Of Me” and “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” with
her fluttering through the woodwinds on “I Cover The Waterfront”. The peppy brass
works well as she swings and sways on “You Do Something To Me” and gives a come
hither holler on “Make Love To Me”.
Joya Sherrill is probably the best known of these singers, starting her career in 1942
with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and having a successful on and off relationship with
the band and sidemen. This 1959 album has her with a Luther Henderson-conducted
orchestra that features bopper Jerome Richardson on flute. The tunes are mostly
jazzed and popped up nursery rhymes, creating a Basie beat on “Little Bo Peep” or
joining with the clarinet section on “Old Lady In A Shoe”. While melodramatic on
these tunes, things change dramatically on six songs on a hip 1957 session with
guitar, piano, bass and drums as she seems well suited for a swooping “Baby Me”, a
bouncy “Thou Swell” a languid “Easy Street” and a bopping “Between The Devil and
the Deep Blue Sea”. She pulls out all the stops on “Lush Life,” making you wonder
why there isn’t more of this side of Sherrill around. Check It out!"
George W. Harris (September 14, 2020)
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