1. I Want To Be Evil
2. Mountain High, Valley Low
3. Just An Old-Fashioned Girl
4. Long Gone ( from Bowlin' Green )
6. The Heel
7. Dinner For One Please, James
8. Beale Street Blues
9. Do You Remember ?
10. The Memphis Blues
11. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
12. Le Danseur de Charleston
13. Santa Baby
14. The Day That The Circus Left Town
The voice of Eartha Kitt is definitely an acquired taste. Her feline
delivery is highly personal and instantly recognisable. Perhaps her
work is not so well known by the younger audiences of today, but,
according to the liner note, she continues to perform in cabarets
almost fifty years after her zenith. Her vocalisations have a purring,
sometimes nasal quality and she often spits or almost speaks the lyrics
in an aggressive manner.
The majority of Miss Kitt's better known numbers are included on
this compilation as well as some less well remembered selections.
There are a few tunes featuring a Dixieland band under the leadership
of Shorty Rogers and these pieces obviously feature the highest Jazz
content. A curiosity is "Long Gone ( from Bowlin' Green )",
which, in terms of arrangement, leans heavily on the Louis Armstrong
version ( from "Plays W.C Handy") which was released two
or three years before this rendition.
The other selections, generally speaking, use a much heavier style
of orchestration and are more in the idiom of cabaret pieces . Perhaps
the most well-known recording is "Just An Old-Fashioned Girl"
but of equal interest are such songs as "Mountain High Valley
Low" and "I Want To Be Evil". "Jonny " serves
as an illustration of the singers ease with lyrics in a foreign language
- apparently she was relatively comfortable in English, French, Spanish,
German and even Turkish!
My personal favourites are the almost forgotten "Dinner For
One Please, James" and the wonderfully evocative "The Day
The Circus Left Town." This disc is definitely a matter of a
certain personal preference but for anyone with that inclination it
is well worth a listen.