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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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MORGANA KING

Four Classic Albums

Avid AMSC 1021

 

 


CD1
For You, For Me, Forever More
1. For You, For Me, Forever More
2. Here I'll Stay
3. There's A Lull In My Life
4. It's Delovely
5. Down In The Depths
6. The Song Is You
7. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
8. Ev'rything I Love
9. If You Could See Me Now
10. I'll String Along With You
11. Everything I've Got
12. You're Not So Easy To Forget
Sings the Blues
13. More Than You Know
14. Frankie And Johnnie
15. Mean To Me
16. When Your Lover Has Gone
17. Something To Remember You By
18. I See Two Lovers
19. Body And Soul
20. Mad About The Boy
21. It's Only A Paper Moon
22. Bill

CD2
1. Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
2. Why Was I Born
The Greatest Songs Ever Swung
3. Just You, Just Me
4. And the Angels Sing
5. Take the "A" Train
6. I Can't Get Started
7. Lullaby of Birdland
8. A Foggy Day
9. How High The Moon
10. Perdido
11. Lonesome Road
12. At Sundown
Let Me Love You
13. All or Nothing at All
14. Let Me Love You
15. I Love You Much Too Much
16. I'll Never Smile Again
17. I'll Remember April
18. You Always Hurt The One You Love
19. The End Of A Love Affair
20. Mad About Him Sad Without Him, How Can I Be Glad Without Him Blues
21. That Ole Devil Called Love
22. Undecided
23. You Don't Know What Love Is
24. I've Found A New Baby - Fast Version
25. I've Found A New Baby - Slow Version

 

Morgana King seemed to disappear from the scene almost as soon as she appeared. Most people noticed her remarkable voice in 1964 with an intriguingly mystic version of A Taste of Honey. That year she won a Grammy for Best New Artist but somehow she slipped out of many people's awareness and some jazz fans may not even have heard of her. Despite this, her career continued for some while as a singer and actress (she appeared in two of the Godfather films as Marlon Brando's wife).

As these four early albums show, she had a wide vocal range (four octaves) and sang securely in tune, with clear enunciation as well as commendable intonation. She had an air of mystery about her - perhaps because of her high-flying voice and the name Morgana (her real name was Maria Grazia Morgana Messina). These albums were recorded between 1956 and 1959, before she was really well known, but they prove that she was already a notable vocalist. She is worth discovering (or rediscovering), as she puts over every song with skill and confidence.

Like most such Avid double albums, this bargain compilation supplies a generous number of tracks lasting a total of over 142 minutes. And, like most such albums, the information is sketchy, listing few personnels and using tiny print. But the splendid music makes up for this, with classic songs delivered sensitively - and often including little-known verses.

Several tracks are marred by the tinkling of a celeste, which interferes with the subtlety of Morgana's vocals. Yet the many highlights include There's A Lull In My Life (with Mundell Lowe on guitar); Morgana's skittish performance of It's Delovely; the emotional Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man; Lullaby of Birdland which is taken at an unusually fast lick; How High The Moon, featuring four trombonists including King's second husband, Willie Dennis; and Perdido which has Morgana scatting jazzily.

Hearing these glorious recordings, one may wonder why Morgana King never became widely known as a singer. Perhaps she just sounds too subtle and ladylike for broad popularity, as she was seldom an extroverted performer.

Tony Augarde



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