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Fascinating Jane Morgan - The Days the Rains Came
Her 57 Finest
Various accompanists
rec. 1956-62
RETROSPECTIVE RTS4314 [79:39 + 78:42]

There’s a delightfully light, lush and verdant quality to The Day the Rains Came, Jane Morgan’s only No.1 UK hit, which was an English-language translation of the original French song Le jour où la pluie viendra, which she also sings, symmetrically, as the first and last items in this twofer. Born in 1924 and still with us at the time of writing Florence Currier came from an accomplished classical music family – her father was a cellist with the Boston Symphony and her mother was a fine pianist. She began by studying opera but funded her fees singing popular songs in nightclubs, though her break came when she was taken to sing in Paris in 1948. She also changed her name.

The recordings here cover the years 1956-62. They start with a series of singles and include the albums Jane in Spain and The Ballads of Lady Jane. Those early tracks show her with the Troubadors and thus include her highest placed American hit, Fascination. But it’s a song like Jule Styne and Sammy Chan’s It’s Been A Long, Long Time that better reveals her superior technique, languorous style and ease of delivery. This, when added to the elegant charm and local colour of Arriverderci, Roma – with its searing, soaring strings – vitalised arrangements no end. It also shows her mixing musical genres and styles and utilising her linguistic skills. Things such as the double-tracked Everybody Loves a Lover do, however, perhaps also show that gimmickry was always a concern in the later 1950s.

There is Iberian fire in the orchestrations of Jane in Spain; the orchestra is that of Frank Hunter. Perfida is especially fine as is her Spanish-language performances of Be Mine Tonight and What a Difference a Day Made. These are salutary performances as these songs, long annexed to the Great American Songbook, were originally written in Spanish. (The latter was composed by the great Maria Grever.) Throughout one can hear Morgan’s fine classical technique which underpins all she does. It’s noticeable in particular in the album The Ballads of Lady Jane, largely traditional items such as Molly Malone and Cotton Eyed Joe from the Anglo-Celtic-American heartland. Nick Perito directs his orchestra and fortunately the arrangements aren’t too fussy though Jack Elliott is on hand with his harpsipiano – maybe he wrestled Glenn Gould for it.

In the latter stages Perito, Hunter and Vic Schoen were her regular orchestral accompanists, but Burt Bacharach also did the honours both for his own songs and those of others. She sings with directness and tonal purity in They Didn’t Believe Me and was pretty hot off the press when recording The Sound of Music in September 1958. There was always the potential for modish cliché in some recordings of the lighter muse at this time but even with the slightly threadbare Rachmaninovian piano concertante accompaniment Odyssey goes well – and it’s a nice melody line. French song was a real strength. Et Maintenant – or What Now, My Love - is set to Ravel’s Bolero rhythm and conducted well by Bacharach.

Morgan continued to make LPs until her last album in 1970, a Country disc called Jane Morgan in Nashville. She starred in musicals and retired in 1973 but her enduring legacy is the sequence of Kapp LPs and singles that she made in her heyday on disc. Fortunately they sound excellent here and there’s always the advantage of Ray Crick’s sleeve notes.

Jonathan Woolf

The Day The Rains Came
Two Different Worlds
It’s Not For Me To Say
Speak Low
It’s Been A Long, Long Time
Melodie D’amour
All The Way
April Love
Arrivederci, Roma
Baubles, Bangles And Beads
Come Closer To Me
Everybody Loves A Lover
It’s All In The Game
The Moon Was Yellow
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
You Belong To My Heart
I Get Ideas
Be Mine Tonight
What A Difference A Day Made
Let Me Love You Tonight
Magic Is The Moonlight
The Ballad Of Lady Jane
The Riddle Song
Turtle Dove
Molly Malone
Ten Thousand Miles
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Scarlet Ribbons
Cotton-Eyed Joe
The Foggy, Foggy Dew
I Know Where I’m Going
Come, All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies
If Only I Could Live My Life Again
With Open Arms
They Didn’t Believe Me
I Could Have Danced All Night
How Are Things In Glocca Morra?
Just In Time
Hey, There!
The Sound Of Music
My Foolish Heart
The Second Time Around
Blue Hawaii
What Now, My Love?
Waiting For Charley To Come Home



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