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Rosemary Clooney

The Reprise Years

RHINO 8122748762 [71:31]



I Wish It So
Yours Sincerely
Find The Way
How Will I Remember You
Why Shouldn't I
More Than You Know
You Started Something
It Never Entered My Mind
If I Forget You
Someone To Watch Over Me
Rules Of The Road
Just One Of Those Things
All Alone
Black Coffee
Baby The Ball Is Over
Man That Got Away
I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
Miss Otis Regrets
Thanks For Nothing (At All)
Rosemary Clooney with orchestra
rec. 1961


The Leopard Lounge might be a gauche name – as in "The Leopard Lounge Presents" – but under Warner Jazz’s imprint Rhino has been doing some excellent retrieval work. I’ll forgive them the leopard skin artwork running along the top of the booklet. Retro cheese is not always a bad thing especially when it produces the goods, as here.

What we have is the contents of two LPs recorded by Rosemary Clooney in 1961. Love was arranged by the man she was then involved with, Nelson Riddle and Thanks for Nothing was the work of arranger Bob Thompson. Both are among the highest peaks of Clooney’s recorded output – the Himalayas of her work on disc.

Riddle produces a warm string cushion for Clooney and encourages form her sympathetic intimacy. The discreet wash of his orchestration can perhaps best be appreciated in Imagination. Clooney stretches out in the jazzier surroundings of Why Shouldn't I with its brass and flute obbligatos. The way she sings More Than You Know- with a reservoir of unspoken feelings – must surely have been an influence on one of today’s premier singers, Stacey Kent. There’s a brief but strong tenor saxophone solo in You Started Something – Plas Johnson? But the sheer consistency and excellence of the date is the thing. One should also note the big all-star string section Riddle had at his disposal. The print is miniscule for the band – the only demerit I can detect in this release – but with microscope and the use of an assistant and scribe I can tell you it included Israel Baker, Lou Raderman, Louis Kievman, Virginia Majewski and George Neikrug amongst many, many others.

The other date is sassier but rather less subtle. Thompson tends to use the kind of orchestration for a Sinatra and this isn’t always quite so appropriate for Clooney. He’s far less reliant on string cushion than Riddle and mines walking bass, and show band extroversion. But there’s a dramatic cello solo in Black Coffee. Thompson’s big band affiliations are further cemented by the bass and vibes focus in I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues and his extroversion brings out a great sense of dynamism from Clooney as well as an intoxicating sense of character.

Clooney admirers will find this a ravishing feast. I go more for the Riddle tracks but both albums are magnificent.

Jonathan Woolf

Clooney admirers will find this a ravishing feast. I go more for the Riddle tracks but both albums are magnificent. ... see Full Review


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