Reference: FSRCD 811_2
Sue Raney (McPherson, Kansas 1939) remains one of the most talented and sensitive singers ever to grace both jazz and pop music. Her deceptively easy mastery was honed by years of experience, beginning with fronting her own 15-minute TV show as a teenager.
A 1956 appearance on the Jack Carson radio show led to a spot on Ray Anthonys TV show and a three-month stint at the Hollywood Palladium. Signed by Capitol Records, she made her debut single with the popular The Careless Years and won an impressive accolade when Capitol assigned Nelson Riddle to arrange and conduct her first album, When Your Lover Has Gone, in 1957. With her easy-to-listen-to ballad style, she drew a teen-age following in a music world that was then largely limited to rock n roll.
Between 1958 and 1959 she made three singles with Jack Marshalls orchestra, years during which she also recorded her second Capitol album, Songs for a Raney Day, with orchestra arranged and conducted by Billy May. Her last work for Capitol was two further singles accompanied by Bill Holmans music.
In these early recordings she demonstrated a rare combination of giftshow to be a completely natural singer and one also equipped with the discipline, training and sensitivity to understand a song and communicate its essence to the listener.
"Sue Raney enjoyed many good reviews back in the day, and has continued to perform through to the present, but she never attracted the same measure of acclaim afforded many other singers and that is a serious miscarriage of musical justice. Unfortunately, the dates tell us that this was at the time when tuneful singing, melodic grace, and thoroughly charming interpretations of lyrics slipped from being prerequisites of musical performances.
Oh, oh - Im starting to sound grumpy and I want to avoid that; indeed it is impossible to feel that way when listening to the gorgeous examples of Raneys work collected here. She is a truly gifted and eloquent artist and all that she does makes clear that beneath her musical talent lies intelligence that allows her to present the songs with all those qualities, of tunefulness, grace, charm and an obvious love of melody.
There is a great deal of instrumental value here too, the orchestra members including many big names although there is space for only a few solos, but the quality of the playing will be obvious if just a few are listed: Med Flory, Bob Enevoldsen, Roy Harte, Paul Smith, Don Fagerquist, Shelly Manne, Jimmy Rowles, Frank Rosolino, Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Mel Lewis.
Fresh Sound presents these CDs with a 24-page booklet giving complete personnel details (omitted here for reasons of space), together with lengthy notes, old and new, and some lovely photos of the singer. This is popular song at its best and if the jazz touches are often merely implied, they are a welcome enhancement. At the risk of returning to grumpiness, what a shame that someone did not allow Sue Raney to record a Song Book series.
Somewhat reluctantly, I have given this admirable set only four stars; thats because this is a jazz magazine for a jazz readership. In all other respects, this is five-star music."
Bruce Crowther -June, 2014
"In the late '50s and early '60s, Capitol Records had two leading jazz-oriented pop singers on its roster -- June Christy and Peggy Lee -- and then added another young singer, Sue Raney. Raney cut a few albums which seemed to quickly disappear, never to be heard from again until now [...] On the 1958 release 'When Your Lover Has Gone,' Raney is supported by the estimable Nelson Riddle, whose arrangements and orchestrations have graced the recordings of many of the top singers of the last four decades (among the more notable, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra). The second album, 'Songs for a Raney Day,' was cut under the leadership of another Hollywood music icon, Billy May. His arrangements on this album are much softer than the blaring brass a la the discs he cut with Sinatra and Anita O'Day. This is a gentler, softer May, appropriate for an album of songs that capture the essence and moods of rainy weather. Although very young when these sessions were recorded, there's more than a hint of the consummate artistry that was to characterize Raney's singing over the next 40 years. The style, diction and appreciation for good melodies which became a staple of Raney's albums are already evident, and each album has well-known standards. But there are songs penned by composers not often recorded, like Ann Ronell's "Rain on the Roof," a reminder that Ronell did much more than "Willow Weep for Me." Unfortunately, the promise created by these two albums never quite materialized. Raney, despite her outstanding recordings, never entered studios with the frequency commensurate with her talent, which doesn't say much for the music business."
Dave Nathan -All Music Guide
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