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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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ANNIE ROSS

You and Me Baby

Vocalion CDSML 8451

 

 

1. Night Owl
2. Stone Soul Picnic
3. Something in the Way He Moves
4. Vegetables
5. Cat Food
6. Wave
7. I've Got it Hidden
8. Country Pie
9. Love Story (You and Me)
10. The Gentle Rain
11. Crickets Sing for Anamaria (Os Grilos)
12. Rondo à la Turk
13. Love Peace My Brother
14. Free the People

Annie Ross - Vocals, tambourine, whistle
Dave MacRae - Electric piano, organ
Gordon Edwards - Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Rick Laird - Bass guitar, acoustic guitar
Sean Lynch - Jaws harp (track 8)
Dave Montgomery - Drums

 

This album was originally recorded in 1971. You might guess that date roughly from the songs that Annie Ross sings, with hippie anthems like Stoned Soul Picnic and touches of love and peace in the last two items. The date is also given away by the boogaloo rhythms and the jazz-rock in many items. Yet somehow Annie Ross transcends any particular time, as her vocals have long-lasting appeal.

Of course, she is best known as an exponent of vocalese in the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, but she left them in 1962 and has since continued her career as a solo singer and seems inexhaustible: still wowing audiences at the age of 79. This reissued LP was recorded at Decca's No.1 Studio with an invited audience, re-creating Annie's one-woman show in Hampstead. The variety of the repertoire proves that Annie is much more than an exponent of vocalese. With equal skill she handles psychedelia (Stoned Soul Picnic), jazz-fusion (Night Owl and Cat Food), the bossa nova (Wave and The Gentle Rain), and songs from composers as diverse as Bob Dylan (Country Pie) and Randy Newman (Love Story).

Several songs illustrate Annie's comic ability (after all, her brother was Scottish comedian Jimmy Logan). Vegetables is a ridiculous Beach Boys song in which she imitates the smouldering voice of Simone Signoret. I've Got It Hidden is introduced by Ross as a number sung by a burlesque entertainer she saw in California "billed as Florence of Arabia" and Annie performs it in the high-pitched style of such "ladies". And Rondo à la Turk is Mozart ("one of his biggest hits") with humorous pattered vocalese lyrics by Bill Solly.

However, Annie can also sing ballads with sensitivity - like James Taylor's Something in the Way He Moves (a delicious song different from the Beatles' Something). And she performs the bossa novas with true jazz feeling. As Tim Rice's sleeve-notes on the original 1971 LP said, Annie is a jazz singer "but she's everything else, too".

Ross is well served by her accompanists, especially keyboardist Dave MacRae. On Country Pie there is a funky guitar solo from Gordon Edwards and the unusual sound of the jaws harp as played by Sean Lynch. The album is sub-titled "An evening with Annie Ross" and it will make you want to spend several evenings with this versatile vocalist.

 

Tony Augarde 



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