Pat Healy: Sings Just Before Dawn

Fresh Sound brings another briefly prominent but high-quality singer back to our attention, simultaneously shining light on early Paul Bley

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Pat Healy was, amongst other things, a veterinary student, a lifeguard and a photographer before she enjoyed a brief moment in the spotlight as a singer. This CD brings together her solitary LP and (being subtitled “her complete recordings”) everything else she recorded.

She had a telling way with a lyric, appreciative of nuance and with substantial emotional depth, that is enhanced here by the arrangements of Fred Katz. The world that was evoked on radio by the late Alan Dell and the similarly late David Jacobs comes to mind even as passing time consigns it to the history.

In what was remarkably her professional debut on the Stars Of Jazz ABC-TV show in 1957 Healy is backed even more remarkably by a trio headed by Paul Bley, with Charlie Haden and drummer Lennie McBrowne. The rendition of Siren Song, even at less than two minutes duration, is sufficient to justify that auspicious debut.

Don’t Ever Leave Me is a prime example of the Healy / Katz combination. The wistfulness of the arrangement is mirrored by Healy, whose acute investment in the lyric renders it poignant. I’m A Dreamer, Aren’t We All?, is similarly from that solitary album and exemplifies Healy’s happily unclinical intelligence when it comes to “reading” the lyrics of songs from off the beaten track. The Alan Dell world is evoked again, and for the 3.35 of the song’s duration the world as we’re unfortunate enough to know it now seems shrouded in innocent mists.

Joe Marino was Healy’s accompanist of choice. The quartet he heads on Every Time is a tribute to Healy’s astuteness as she invests the lyric with a finely judged emotional depth that sounds totally anomalous by present day standards, and which is all the better for that.

Discography
Bobby Troup Introduces Pat Healy; I Wish I Were In Love Again; Bobby Troup Interviews Pat Healy; The Siren Song; Don’t Ever Leave Me; The Siren Song; I’m A Dreamer, Aren’t We All?; Boys And Girls; Naughty But Nice; Isn’t It A Pity; When I Fall In Love; Nobody Else But Me; Easy Come; Every Time; You Never Knew About Me; Bobby Troup Introduces Pat Healy; Blue Moon; I’ve Got It Again; Bobby Troup Introduces Pat Healy; They All Laughed; Bobby Troup Introduces The Next Song; The Siren Song; Ever Since You Went Away; Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home (58.43)
Healy (v); Paul Bley, Joe Marino (p); Fred Katz (arr, cond); Billy Vaughn (cond) and others. Stars Of Jazz ABC-TV show, Hollywood; Capitol Tower Studios, Hollywood and Los Angeles, 1957-1959.
Fresh Sound Records FSR-CD1128