her 2000 release, "Keely Sings Sinatra", here's another release
from the 'ex' Mrs Louis Prima that really deserves to be in your music
library. Although Keely worked with William 'Count' Basie many times,
from 1963, this album faithfully re-creates the sound of Count Basie's
Big Band, with some of the finest musicians and arrangers working today.
And a special mention must go to her producer, Bobby Milano. But what
about the music, I hear you say. OK, get past the first track 'intro',
and start swingin'!!!
"April In Paris" showcases one of Don Menza's full-blooded
arrangements - faultless! Next up, the tempo slows down with "You
Go To My Head" - heavenly! Holland, Dozier & Holland never
sounded so good with Keely really swingin' her way through "How
Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" - brilliant! "Happiness
Is A Thing Called Joe" finds Keely in a softer, more soulful
mood with the band carefully restraining the refrain - sublime! Next,
the Rodgers & Hart song "Lover" is given a breezy,
up-tempo arrangement, by Frank Collett, and Keely delivers the lyric
with precision and poise - perfect! "How High The Moon"
takes you to a smoky cocktail lounge. Close your eyes and you can easily
imagine that you're there, sippin' a sour and drowning your sorrows.
Beautiful! Would you believe a swingin' version of Don Gibson's
"I Can't Stop Loving You"? You'd better! If ain't tappin'
your toes to this, go see your doctor right away! Well, being part Cherokee
herself, it shouldn't be any surprise that Keely gives "Cherokee
(Indian Love Song)" a superior workout here. Duke Ellington's
"Mood Indigo" is a notoriously difficult song to do
justice to, but Keely surpasses all expectations here - a blinder! "Some
Of These Days" is delivered with a more jaunty pace, and is
guaranteed to get you groovin'. One of the 'standards', Cole Porter's
"Love For Sale" has been covered by just about every
great singer, and Keely brings a certain exquisite swinging 'something'
to the song here. Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen created the ultimate
sad song with "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)".
Amongst others, Frances Albert recorded it but, this time, Keely gives
the song a special kind of pathos that you won't hear anwhere else.
Barkeep, pour me another one, and make it a double
Now, I've personally got 14 different versions of "Can't Take
My Eyes Off You", but nobody, and I mean NOBODY, sings it or
swings it like Keely with this Don Menza arrangement! Sensational! "St.
Louis Blues", also arranged by Don Menza, swings nicely along
and also gives the band a chance to workout. Class! Keely decides to
"Take The 'A' Train" and Frank Collet's arrangement
is a work of genius that is simply perfect for Keely. Inspired! "The
House I Live In/Star Spangled Banner" - arranged by Dennis
Michaels - is dedicated to Keely's cousin Sal Thompson, a firefighter
from Brooklyn who worked on the '9-11' tragedy scene. Talk about poignant
OK - that's my 'album of the month'. Now go and buy yourself a copy
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