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Come Into My Parlor

Janet Klein

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Album Review

One of those rare albums that puts forth a specific set of aesthetic criteria and then fulfills them completely, Janet Klein's 1998 debut Come Into My Parlor is a joy. Klein, accompanied by her own ukulele and occasional unobtrusive bits of guitar or accordion, interprets 26 songs from the teens through the '30s. The program includes standards ("You're the Cream in My Coffee," an exquisite version of Rodgers & Hart's "Mountain Greenery"), near-forgotten pop songs (the absolutely adorable, almost Betty Boop-like "What a Night for Spooning" is possibly the album's highest point), and a small handful of racy novelties. Most of these songs now mostly sound as innocent and sweet as once-shocking French postcards from the era look, despite double-entendre titles like "If I Can't Sell It, I'll Keep Sittin' on It" and "Banana in Your Fruit Basket." On the other hand, the purring "Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl" ("I need a little sugar in my bowl/I need a hot dog in my roll") still sounds both downright rude and more than a little sexy. The most impressive thing about Come Into My Parlor is that, unlike most late-'90s exercises in nostalgia, like the thankfully short-lived lounge and swing revivals, this album is completely free of both smarmy hipsterism and attempts to modernize the material. Klein obviously genuinely loves this music, and she sings it with both the historical reverence of the archivist and the unfettered joy of a person doing exactly as she pleases. Contemporary pop albums by the Squirrel Nut Zippers, John Southworth, and Rufus Wainwright incorporated elements of this pre-rock style of pop music, but Come Into My Parlor is an irony-free presentation of this still-delightful music in its purest form.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

With her sleek bob haircut (usually with a flower or two placed just so), vintage dresses, strikingly beautiful looks, and artfully customized ukulele, Janet Klein might seem at first to be a simple novelty act, a Generation X hipster ironically recreating the subtly naughty look of a fin-de-siècle French postcard. Then she opens her mouth to sing. There's no Betty Boop hiccups or Mae West-style brassiness in her charmingly original voice. And when she starts to play the ukulele, it's clear that...
Full bio
Come Into My Parlor, Janet Klein
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 1998

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