Carmen McRae - Sings Lover Man And Other Billie Holiday Classics - 180g LP

Product no.: PPANCS8530

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Carmen McRae - Sings Lover Man And Other Billie Holiday Classics - 180g LP
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Pure Pleasure / Columbia - PPAN CS8530  - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl 

Limited Edition - Mastered by Ray Staff at Air London

AAA 100% Analogue - Pressed  at Pallas Germany - Columbia CS8530

AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head

Released in 1962, and produced by the great Teo Macero, this masterpiece was McRae's tribute to Holiday, her idol and major influence. McRae – a stylist many authorities consider shamefully underrated – chose 12 perfect numbers for paying homage to Lady Day, including a sublime 'Strange Fruit', a salaciously sexy 'Miss Brown To You' and ending this with a reverent and heart-felt 'God Bless The Child'. It's about as poignant as a tribute can be, McRae's regular trio augmented by guests including Nat Adderly and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis. Sonically, this is classic Columbia of the era, with vocal textures, power and detail to make you swoon - HIFINEWS

Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London 

Carmen McRae is definitely one of jazz's underrated vocalists as this tribute to her idol, Lady Day clearly shows. Carmen proves she is a mean swinger on tracks like Them There Eyes, I Cried For You & especially Miss Brown To You, where her response at the end of the horn solo is just a slice of jazz heaven. On the ballads, Carmen is mellow & tender on numbers like Lover Man and has that bittersweet cynicism on torch songs like Yesterdays.

Carmen never tries to imitate Lady Day but leaves her own unique stamp on each & every one of these Holiday classics. An album easily recommended for any Carmen fanatic or someone looking for the ideal place to start one's love affair with one of jazz's top songbirds or vocal jazz in general.

In this stunning LP, Carmen McRae pays homage to her friend and idol, Billie Holiday.

With her strong alto, huge range, and ability to change moods, McRae varies her sound throughout, sometimes sounding deliberately gravelly, then switching to softly sweet and romantic, matching the timbre of the instruments accompanying her. She alternates her tempo from slow and dramatic to lively, jazzy, flirty, or intimate. Always, she and the musicians accompanying her are in perfect sync, both in interpreting the lyrics and improvising with the melodies.

Every song is a winner. "Them There Eyes," begins with McRae singing off-rhythm, accompanied by a simple bass (Bob Cranshaw) and drums (Walter Perkins) before the sax (Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis) enters. "I'm Gonna Lock My Heart," is the happiest, with McRae hitting some surprising high notes. "Miss Brown to You," swings in a loose, flirty manner, and "I Cried for You" features McRae sounding like a muted trumpet and wailing. "Lover Man" is wonderfully bluesy, with a toe-tapping rhythm and improvisation, while "A Little Moonlight," with great piano (Norman Simmons), sax (Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis) and trumpet (Nat Adderley) solos, is wild and impassioned.

"Yesterdays," my favorite, begins as a slow, harshly melancholy song with sensitive piano background, then suddenly pauses slightly in the middle, and shifts to a faster, jazzier, more rhythmic line in which McRae is up and down and all over the scale. "Strange Fruit," one of Holiday's signature songs, is finely articulated, and McRae's phrasing and ironically sweet tones give even more emphasis to the horrifying lyrics as Mundell Lowe's guitar provides the mournful accompaniment. "God Bless the Child," written by Holiday, is slow and intimate, and as McRae phrases the story, her wailing adds poignancy to the lyrics.

Blessed with a voice and style that naturally adapts to any kind of jazz, along with the ability to articulate lyrics with perfect enunciation and phrasing, McRae is the consummate musician here. Singing some of Billie Holiday's best songs, and accompanied by world class artists with whom she is totally in sync, McRae in this LP is as good as it gets.     -Mary Whipple                                     


Carmen McRae, vocals
Nat Adderley, cornet
Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, tenor
Mundell Lowe, guitar
Norman Simmons, piano
Bob Cranshaw, bass
Walter Perkins, drums

Side A:
1. Them There Eyes
2. Yesterdays
3. I'm Gonna Lock My Heart
4. Strange Fruit
5. Miss Brown To You
6. My Man
Side B:
1. I Cried For You
2. Lover Man
3. Trav'Lin' Light
4. Some Other Spring
5. What A Little Moonlight Can Do
6. God Bless The Child          

Produced by Teo Macero  - Recorded 1962

Carmen McRae - Sings Lover Man And Other Billie Holiday Classics - 180g LP
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At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records. During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s – or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.

A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.

We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production. To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.

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