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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Q Note

Cleo Lane

Quintessential Cleo

QNT 10707




  1. Talk to Me Baby
  2. Come Back To Me
  3. Feelings
  4. Wave
  5. Gimme a Pig Foot & a Bottle of Beer
  6. Never Let Me Go
  7. Ridin’ High
  8. I’m Shadowing You
  9. Turkish Delight
  10. All in Love is Fair
  11. Let the Music Take You
  12. He Was Beautiful
  13. Birdsong
  14. Just the Way You Are
  15. Being Alive
  16. Send in the Clowns

Having nailed my flag to the mast already in a previous review this month, saying that Cleo is the world’s No.1 living female vocalist, this time I will concentrate on this record’s content. Being a composite of tracks from her many albums, these tracks come from many different sources, both studio and live sessions. The first two tracks are with a studio orchestra. Feelings is recorded with John Williams on guitar and Wave is done in true Latin style. Pigfoot, that old Bessie Smith stomper, is recorded live at Carnegie Hall with a small group, several of the other tracks, Ridin’High, Turkish Delight, Being Alive and Send in the Clowns are also recorded in that most marvellous Concert Hall.

The range of material and backing used on this selection is huge and Cleo’s amazing ability to interpret each song to perfection in any situation is nothing short of stunning. She also has that very rare quality of being a superb entertainer, as well as an outstanding jazz artist. Husband John Dankworth is heard to good effect on many of the tracks and no doubt he took charge of the musical direction. Cleo’s huge range is shown off to good effect on many of the tracks, in that dept. she probably has the edge on anyone living or dead.

Turkish Delight is just that, great entertainment and virtuoso performances from both Cleo and John, listen to the ‘scat’ chorus and the exchanges between alto sax and voice that follow. I am of the opinion that nobody else could carry that off! As a complete contrast, next up is a Stevie Wonder composition All In Love is Fair and then another contrast as John Williams returns for Let the Music Take You and He Was Beautiful.

I was curious as to how Billy Joel’s, Just the Way You Are would work for Cleo, but her artistry carries it off beautifully. The last two tracks are songs by Stephen Sondheim, not one of my favourite tunesmiths, but once again Cleo works her magic.

If your record collection does not contain much of the work of Cleo Lane, here is an excellent opportunity to catch up. If you already own a number of her albums, this particular selection of tracks from her recorded works is excellent and a most enjoyable way to spend an hour or so…….I’ve enjoyed it several times already!

Don Mather

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