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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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CLARE TEAL

Get Happy

W14 Music/Universal 176 1246

 

 


 

1. All For Love
2. Get Happy
3. Love Hurts
4. Begin The Beguine
5. Cheek to Cheek
6. Get On It Sam
7. The Very Thought Of You
8. Breaking Up is Hard to Do
9. Moondance
10. Love for Sale
11. High Love
12. Time after Time
13. All The Things You Are
 
Clare Teal - Vocals, backing vocals
Dennis Rollins - Trombone (tracks 1, 6)
James Watson - Piano, organ
Simon Little - Bass (tracks 1-12)
Chris Dagley - Drums, percussion (tracks 1-12)
A. D. Chivers - Percussion, backing vocals (tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 9)
Colin Ball - Backing vocals (tracks 5, 6, 9)
 

On the plus side, Clare Teal has a good, full voice and she sings in tune. She's a composer as well as a singer - having co-written tracks 1, 6 and 11 with Amanda Field. Most of the other songs are familiar vehicles for jazz vocalists - indeed, several of them have been heard so often as to be hackneyed. Haven't we heard enough versions of Moondance? And, lovely as they are, songs like Cheek to Cheek and All the Things You Are can hardly be called rarities. An untutored reviewer on the Amazon website refers to Love for Sale as "seldom-heard" but it had been recorded by nearly 100 artists and groups by 1995 and has often been heard since.

Does Clare add anything new in her interpretations of these old friends? Mostly not, although she at least sings the verse of Love For Sale - but otherwise her gently Latin-American version of the song is little different from dozens of others. And Clare sounds cheerful rather than sad or defiant.

In fact cheerfulness is a hallmark of most of Clare's performances on this CD. This matches the album title and it suits some of the songs, but not all of them. For instance, the mood of Breaking Up is Hard to Do should be poignant but Clare gives it a neutral interpretation, without any heartfelt emotion. Some other tracks sound merely bland. Clare's sleeve-notes admit that the opening original, All For Love, is inspired by the "lounge regime most prominent in the 1950s". It is reminiscent of a show song like Hernando's Hideaway, especially with the cooing girly chorus in the background. Only Dennis Rollins' gruff trombone adds a bit of grit.

The title track has an arrangement modelled on that used in the 1950 musical film Summer Stock, but why try to reproduce something that Judy Garland made "one of the highlights of her career" (Stanley Green)? Clare's performance has none of the Garland magic or charisma. Perhaps this sums up my misgivings about the whole album. The Teal approach is bright and cheerful but it lacks much character or depth.

Tony Augarde



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