Carole Simpson, who died in 2012, had an intimate quality with a lyric that recalls Jeri Southern, Chris Connor and June Christy. Although she doesn’t play here she also had a reputation as a very fine pianist with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the songbook repertoire. She sang with the Billy May orchestra in 1950 which led to considerable club work as a single. She impressed Tutti Camarata who recommended her to Dave Cavanaugh at Capitol Records which led to her first album All About Carole in 1957 (Jap Toc J5984CD).
On this CD she performs a selection of Steve Allen originals but it has to be said that she deserved better material than this. The high points are This Could Be The Start Of Something Big, which was the theme song for Allen’s NBC talk show, and Oh What A Night For Love, which has been recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé and Frances Wayne.
Connie Haines is quite different to the performers usually featured in The Best Voices Time Forgot, Jordi Pujol’s CD series about forgotten singers, because she was a well-known artist with a very impressive resumé. She worked extensively with Harry James, Tommy Dorsey (often together with Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers) and Tex Beneke.
Her 1957 Tribute To Helen Morgan could not have been better timed, because the following year Warner Brothers released The Helen Morgan Story starring Ann Blyth and Paul Newman. Her emotional interpretations of classic torch songs such as They Didn’t Believe Me, Yesterdays and Can’t Help Loving That Man are worthy of a Doris Day. Elsewhere she creates a gentle swing on Broken Hearted and Mean To Me that occasionally brings Kay Starr to mind. The album also benefits from some tasty Don Fagerquist on They Didn’t Believe Me, Broken Hearted and Mean To Me.
Sample/buy Carole Simpson: Singin’ And Swingin’ / Connie Haines: A Tribute To Helen Morgan at freshsoundrecords.com
(1) [Carole Simpson – Singin’ And Swingin’] Bell, Book And Candle; Baby; And Now Goodbye; When You Get To Frisco; This Could Be The Start Of Something Big; The Ship Sailed; Spring In Maine; Oh What A Night For Love; Fools; What Kind Of Fool?; You Gotta Get Lucky Sometime; Bluesville; (2) [Connie Haines – A Tribute To Helen Morgan] They Didn’t Believe Me; (3) Yesterdays; (2) Broken Hearted; (3) Make Believe; (2) Mean To Me; Can’t Help Loving That Man; (2) Don’t Ever Leave Me; More Than You Know; (3) The Way You Look Tonight; Bill; Why Do I Love You?; (3) Why Was I Born? (69.47)
(1) Simpson (v) with Steve Allen’s Jazz Combo and Orchestra. Hollywood, 1960.
(2) Haines (v); Don Fagerquist (t); John T. Williams (p); Howard Roberts (elg); Buddy Clark (b); Mel Lewis (d). Hollywood, 31 July 1957.
(3) as (2) add Ronny Lang, Hymie Gunkler, Gene Cipriano (ww); string section; Milt Holland (d) replaces Lewis. Hollywood, 26 July 1957.
Fresh Sound Records FSR V123