3.I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
6.Won't You Tell Me Why
8.Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'
12.Bess You Is My Woman
13.My Man's Gone Now
14.I'm Beginning To See The Light
15.A Time For Farewell
17.Born On A Friday
Personnel includes: Cleo Laine (vocals); John Williams, Dudley Moore, James Galway, Ray Charles, Joe Williams, John Dankworth, Jacqui Dankworth.
Personnel: Cleo Laine (vocals).
This two-CD set may be titled The Very Best of Cleo Laine: 34 Classic Hits but it is actually a lesser reissue. Drawing its material from Laine's RCA recordings of 1974-1996, the set is pretty light on jazz despite cameos from Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan, Toots Thielemans and Joe Williams. While the occasional jazz tracks give one a feeling of relief, most of the reissue finds Laine backed by an orchestra, sounding like a Broadway or cabaret singer, occasionally going over the top with sentiment. While Laine has always had a beautiful voice and a wide range, she was never much of an improviser and her choice of material has been erratic through the years. So, next to swinging numbers such as "Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'" and "It Don't Mean a Thing," are forgettable show tunes and throwaway songs. Nearly all of the performances are overarranged with little of value occurring outside of the sound of Cleo Laine's voice. ~ Scott Yanow