Saturday, November 13, 2004:

Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson -- Lonely, Lonely
Nancy Wilson -- The Real Me
Nancy Wilson is a vocalist who started recording in the 1950s, mostly in jazz; she's cut a record with Cannonball Adderley and appeared in concert with Nat King Cole and other big names in jazz, but she's also released pop and soul albums. She has a strong voice and a nice range, and she's well known in jazz circles for both her recordings and her work with NPR on Jazz Profiles.

I found her record Now I'm a Woman in a highly disorganized collection, for $1; it's out of print and about 80% top notch. Here are a couple of rare tracks from it--numbers 2 and 4 from side two.

"Lonely, Lonely" is a bit of soft jazz about loneliness (but you guessed that already); the vocals are quite nice but I wonder why they settled on a mix that swallows the second L. It's a good song but for my money, "The Real Me" is the star of the record.

"The Real Me" is a breakup song, but it's not the kind of sad messy breakup that has you sleeping in and then getting up to sit staring into your coffee--Wilson is exuberant about her sudden freedom; it's her chance to find herself. She knows it'll take some work to put her heart back together but she's eager to start; and she sounds fiery enough to take a trip around the world while she's working on it. I know I shouldn't play the "sounds like" game on this one because there are so many possible answers--vocalists who I'm guessing influenced Wilson, and who Wilson influenced. (And if I listened to her show more often I wouldn't have to guess at all.) But she does sound eerily like Dinah Washington in a few places. And that's not a bad thing.

The sleeve tells me these tracks were arranged and conducted by Bobby Martin, but doesn't list all the musicians, assuring me instead that "they were pros to a man ... the creme de creme of Hollywood." Right then. Well, the album seemed a decent place to document the lineup, for people interested in such things.

I've seen mention of a Blue Note compilation of female jazz vocalists that has "The Real Me" on it, but I've been unable to track it down (the page mentioning it was a forum, and the poster didn't know the CD title either. No, isn't helping).
free download (Christmas music)
and another free download (Christmas music)
Nancy Wilson's NPR show

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