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The Girl Singer

Rosemary Clooney

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Album Review

The Girl Singer, Rosemary Clooney's volume in the Bluebird's Best series, spotlights her talents as a swinging post-big band vocalist between 1958 and 1961, when she was basically hitless but still recording some great material (including many arrangements by Nelson Riddle and excellent duet albums recorded with Bing Crosby and Pérez Prado). Although 16 tracks for a digital-era compilation is basically short shrift, there are highlights galore — starting with "Clap Hands! Here Comes Rosie," a nice piece of fluff that introduced an album of the same name. Also great is an update (with Crosby) of "How About You?" to include references to Gypsy, Marlon Brando, and the Pittsburgh Pirates (Crosby was a co-owner). The two tracks with Prado find the exuberant Clooney matching the outboard orchestra. The Girl Singer also includes a version of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" recorded in Nashville with Floyd Cramer and (probably) a Chet Atkins arrangement. (No, Cassandra Wilson wasn't the first to treat it as a vocal standard.) For jazz or vocal fans curious about a great vocalist but with no wish to revisit "Come on-a My House" or "This Ole House," The Girl Singer is a solid collection.

Biography

Born: May 23, 1928 in Maysville, KY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Before the rock & roll revolution, Rosemary Clooney was one of the most popular female singers in America, rising to superstardom during the golden age of adult pop. Like many of her peers in the so-called "girl singer" movement — Doris Day, Kay Starr, Peggy Lee, Patti Page, et al. — Clooney's style was grounded in jazz, particularly big-band swing. She wasn't an improviser or a technical virtuoso, and lacked the training to stand on an equal footing with the greatest true jazz singers....
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The Girl Singer, Rosemary Clooney
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