Marlene: I Think Of You With Every Breath I Take / Pat O’Day: When Your Lover Has Gone

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While Marlene might have pre-dated Beyoncé by decades in the single name stakes, she put a stop to it in the year she recorded this album, married Billy Ver Planck, and took his name professionally, in that order. Twenty-two years old at the time, she belies her years with an approach to song far in advance of them, yet retains a youthful vigour if she feels the lyric asks for it.

While Fresh Sound might be stretching their own definition a little given that her voice has hardly been forgotten by those in the know, this early effort finds her avoiding the obvious and giving some exposure to some lesser-known lyrics. Deep In A Dream is a highlight for the way the singer wrings nuances out of the lyric and Joe Wilder provides an object lesson in how to make a little resonate a lot. Indeed the performance overall, with the recessed trumpet sound likely to make digital purists rage, is a brief soundtrack for a forgotten, less fraught world in itself, a point underlined by Hank Jones’s deft brilliance.

Pat O’Day was a 21 when she recorded her first record in 1953,  but as things turned out she was destined to make just this one LP three years later. In a sense she took a risk in populating the album largely with standards, but that risk is eliminated by her richness of interpretation. Miss You documents how she could get inside a lyric, and the simple sincerity of her approach again soundtracks a world now lost.

Jack Zimmermann’s arrangements can be a little cloying, as on I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plans, but O’Day’s straightforward approach to the lyric elevates the overall performance. Music Maestro Please shows us the other side of the Zimmermann coin, so to speak, with an arrangement which extracts a wide palette of tonal colours to cushion O’Day’s variedly nuanced take on the lyric.

Discography
[I Think Of You With Every Breath I Take] I Think Of You With Every Breath I Take; Accent On Youth; Snuggled On Your Shoulder; Some Other Time; If I Love Again; We Could Make Such Beautiful Music Together; Deep In A Dream; Two Cigarettes In The Dark; Without A Word Of Warning; You Leave Me Breathless; [When Your Lover Has Gone] When Your Lover Has Gone; Miss You; I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan; Music Maestro Please; What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry; Bill; My Sweetie Went Away; All Alone; Baby Won’t You Please Come Home; How Are Things In Glocca Morra; Lover Come Back To Me; All By Myself In The Morning (74.56)
I Think Of You With Every Breath I Take: Marlene (v); Joe Wilder (t); Herbie Mann (f); Hank Jones (p); Wendell Marshall (b); Kenny Clarke (d). Hackensack, New Jersey, 1955.
When Your Lover Has Gone: Pat O’Day (v) with orchestra arranged and conducted by Jack Zimmermann. New York City, 1956.
Fresh Sound FSR V116