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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke



No personnel listing given.

Recorded Hollywood and New York 1953-1957.

Bluebird's Best CD 09026 63901 2


1. I Want To Be Evil
2. Mountain High, Valley Low
3. Just An Old-Fashioned Girl
4. Long Gone ( from Bowlin' Green )
5. Jonny
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.

Dick Stafford.


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