Here's That Rainy Day
DCC Classics GRZ027 Vocals / Blues
on earth does a record like this slip by without a parade or a national
holiday to celebrate its release?
Brown is known mostly as a very fine R&B singer and this is unfair
to her talents. Throughout her career she's been showing off her
diversity but her listening public seems to want to peg her as a
That Rainy Day features Brown in a very sophisticated set of
12 numbers with Barbra Streisand's best arranger, Peter Matz. Like
Streisand's better early work, there's a swinging urgency mixed
with an urban sophistication that is hard to resist. Brown more
than holds her own. Her reading of I Know Why (And So Do You)
is both sweet and romantic. Her Porgy is one of the best.
We're not sure what to make of her slowed-down Good Ship Lollipop
except that this type of arrangement worked better for Streisand
with Happy Days Are Here Again. Hands down, our favorite
number is the swinging He's a Real Gone Guy that owes more
to Streisand's Lover, Come Back to Me than composer Nellie
released as Ruth Brown '65 on Mainstream Records, this is
the album's second incarnation as a CD. The first time out it was
called Help a Good Girl Go Bad, retaining the original track
order. This new release changes the title yet again and inexplicably
changes the order of the songs. Why mess with near perfection? What
really needed work was the second generation sound quality. It's
not horrible but a recording this important deserves better.
Eco de Sombras (Echo of Shadows)
Luaka Bop 72438-48912-2-0 Latin / Peru / Afro-Peru
Baca is one of the rare artists whose music sounds sweet and soothing
as background music in an aromatherapy store, yet she's completely
compelling as the sole object of your attention. She really deserves
a fire, a good drink and speakers at full volume. We would rank
Cesaria Evora in the same league, but Evora's melodies are often
very similar and you really don't need to collect a lot of her work.
Baca, on the other hand, confidently dabbles in a more Afro sound
here and a more folk sound there. Her best work mixes the two. Her
folk numbers never veer too far away from her African roots and
the more Afro numbers bear an undeniable European stamp.
de Sombras was recorded in New York with Baca's core musicians
and some local New York guests. But this is Baca's show, not an
All-Star mess. The sound quality is excellent and the English translations
of the lyrics are handy. A few of the melodies are a little sing-songy
but on the whole, this disc is a real keeper.