viernes, 17 de abril de 2009

Ketty Lester: Love Letters (1962)

Ketty Lester began her singing career on completing a music course at San Francisco State College. A residency at the city's Purple Onion club was followed by a successful tour of Europe before she joined band leader Cab Calloway's revue. Later domiciled in New York, Lester's popular nightclub act engendered a recording contract, of which ‘Love Letters’ was the first fruit. The singer's cool-styled interpretation of this highly popular standard originally recorded by Dick Haymes, reached the Top 5 in both the USA and UK in 1962, eventually selling in excess of one million copies. Enhanced by a memorable piano figure in Lester’s rendition, the song has been covered many times, with notable successes for Elvis Presley and Alison Moyet. The follow-up single, a cover of George Gershwin's ‘But Not for Me’, from the musical Girl Crazy, peaked at number 41 pop during summer 1962, but Lester was sadly unable to repeat her first hit's accomplished balance between song, interpretation and arrangement. In the latter part her career, she abandoned singing in favour of a career as a film and television actress, with appearances in various series. She was later coaxed back into the studio, but only on her stipulation that it would be exclusively to perform sacred music. Ketty Lester's original Era Records 1962 album ‘Love Letters’, with arrangements courtesy of Lincoln Mayorga, was one of the most seductive recordings of the decade. It was no accident that Lena Horne and Peggy Lee gave their endorsements in the original liner notes. Aside from the title track, there are so many other songs on this album that warrant its praising as a masterpiece, like ‘Once Upon a Time’, ‘Where or When’, ‘Gloomy Sunday’ and the soul-crushing classic ‘I'm a Fool to Want You’, just to name a few. This is absolutely FIRST CLASS music. I hope you enjoy it.

Ketty Lester on a retracked clip of her hit 'Love Letters':

Here, performing 'I'll Be Looking Back' (1965):

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