Chris Connor: Sings Lullabys For Lovers

The singing is efficient, the backing good, but commercial pressure to follow a stereotype may have stunted London's individuality

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Miss Connor delivers this set of flawless compositions in a manner that explains why she was fairly high up on the list of women vocalists of the 50s. But it’s inescapable that the style of the time, exemplified by Sarah Vaughan or June Christy, whom Connor followed into the Kenton band, permeated the work of “girl” singers.

A trenchant sentence from liner writer Robert Sylvester: “In an era when radio, television and the commercial orchestras demanded a cut and dried style, when the ultimate ambition of almost every singer was to sing just like somebody else, the individual vocalist with style, imagination and ideas had a monotonous row to hoe.”

Mr Sylvester may not have intended this description for Miss Connor, but I’m afraid that it fits. Given the time, her delivery is OK, but she shows little imagination and her tweaks are minor. Additionally she has a hard sound in her voice which I personally don’t care for.

The accompanying cushion is dazzling, and she couldn’t be given more help by the mainly well-known backing musicians. Pianist Stan Free ranks with the excellent Ralph Sharon and guitarist Cinderella isn’t outranked by heavyweight Mundell Lowe. Conversely the short tracks dictate that names like Milt Jackson, Cohn, Costa and Newman are wasted by their minor chances. I understand that Miss Connor was an acquired taste. I must have been acquiring something else at the time. The false plural in the title anove follows the cover.

Discography
(1) Lush Life; Out Of This World; Cottage For Sale; How Long Has This Been Going On?; Goodbye; Stella By Starlight; Gone With The Wind; He’s Coming Home; (2) Moonlight In Vermont (24.26) – (3) The Man I Love; ’S Wonderful; A Foggy Day; (4) I Can’t Be Bothered Now; Embraceable You; (5) Beginner’s Luck; (4) Somebody Loves Me; (6) I’ve Got A Crush On You; (7) Our Love Is Here To Stay; (8) All Dressed Up With A Broken Heart (25.03)
Connor (v) with:
(1) Ronnie Odrich (f, cl); Don Burns (acc); Joe Cinderella (g); Vinnie Burke (b); Art Mardigan (d). NYC, 21 August 1954.
(2) Stan Free (p); Mundell Lowe (g); George Duvivier (b); Ed Shaughnessy (d). NYC, 23 May 1958.
(3) Ralph Sharon (p); Oscar Pettiford (b); Osie Johnson (d). NYC, 26 February 1957.
(4) Milt Jackson (vib); Stan Free (p); Mundell Lowe (g); Milt Hinton (b); Ed Shaughnessy (d). NYC, 1 May 1957.
(5) Herbie Mann (f, as); Ralph Sharon (p); Barry Galbraith (g); Oscar Pettiford (b); Ronnie Free (d). NYC, 7 February 1957.
(6) Joe Newman (t); Al Cohn (ts); Eddie Costa (vib); Ralph Sharon (p); Milt Hinton (b); Osie Johnson (d). NYC, 1 February 1957.
(7) Doc Severinsen (t); Eddie Bert (tb); Al Cohn (ts); Danny Bank (bar); Stan Free (p); Mundell Lowe (g); Wendell Marshall (b); Ed Shaughnessy (d). NYC, 24 April 1957.
(8) Herbie Mann (f); Ralph Sharon (p); Joe Puma (g); Milt Hinton (b); Osie Johnson (d). NYC, 24 April 1957.
Supper Club 003