Eileen Farrell - Sings Alec Wilder (1990)

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Eileen Farrell - Sings Alec Wilder (1990)
Artist: Eileen Farrell
Title Of Album: Sings Alec Wilder
Year Of Release: 1990
Label: Reference Recordings: RR-36CD
Genre: Vocal Jazz
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue,scans)
Bitrate: Lossless
Total Time: 52:29
Total Size: 248 mb


01. It's a Fine Day for Walkin' Country Style (2:52)
02. It's So Peaceful in the Country (4:51)
03. Moon and Sand (3:25)
04. Blackberry Winter (5:01)
05. If Someday Comes Ever Again (3:45)
06. Be a Child (3:49)
07. Where Do You Go? (3:23)
08. Lovers and Losers (2:27)
09. The Lady Sings the Blues (5:09)
10. The Worm Has Turned (2:28)
11. Where's That Heartache? (2:15)
12. 'S Gonna Be a Cold, Cold Day (4:13)
13. Who Can I Turn To? (4:45)
14. I'll Be Around (4:06)

Eileen Farrell - vocals
Loonis McGlohon - piano
Joe Wilder - trumpet, fluegelhorn
Bill Stowe - drums
Terry Peoples - bass
Greg Hyslop - guitar
Phil Thompson - flute, saxophone
Jim Stack - vibraphone

When Eileen Farrell returned to recording in the late 80s-early 90s, her reception was mixed. Her 'Stormy Weather' album was stellar, but the songbooks albums of composers were seen as uneven and even sounding cheap in their arrangement's that relied on early digital instrumentation. I would agree with the critics and think this album sufferers the most from the production. Alec Wilder was a brilliant but unique songwriter and his lyrics are hard to appreciate in the sparse, cold soundscapes preferred by the producers. Stormy Weather's tracks gave Farrell ample opportunity to find strong notes and belt them solidly and clearly over the beat. Wilder's music relies on almost a spoken phrasing, like his ultimate interrupter, Mabel Mercer.
It's telling that they chose not to record 'Have You Ever Gone Over to Sneden?", one of Mercer's signature tunes which Wilder wrote specially for her unique talent. Instead, Farrell delivers "Lady Sings the Blues' and "Blackberry Winter", not with a jazz club quality, but with an icy, exacting voice that suggests an opera singer who is used to being the precision in the ensemble while the instruments would add warmth and a flow that Farrell withheld. Like in her opera performances, a great Farrell performance delivered high-powered vocals while still giving the impression that she was holding back an even greater sense of vocal abandon. With this rudimentary digital production, a flatness overwhelms the spirit of the album and results in a disappointment.
Still, I wouldn't want to be without this recording. Blackberry Winter and The Worm Has Turned are wonderful recordings and worth the purchase price alone. This album isn't a great introduction to Eileen Farrell's best work, (for the late-career stuff, see Stormy Weather or, for earlier material, the Greatest Hits package on CBS) but if you're a fan it's a satisfying listen and one that evokes a sense of resigned calm. Like a great lady revisiting and relishing favorite songs with nothing to prove.

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Tags: Eileen, Farrell, Wilder

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