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Sings the Cole Porter Songbook

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Album Review

Having previously devoted songbook albums to Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill, and Harold Arlen in successive years, Julie Wilson continues the career comeback she mounted in 1984 by turning to Cole Porter, who may be her most compatible songwriter source yet. Wilson, a native of Omaha, NE, moved to New York and the world of musical theater and nightclubs, just as Porter had also come east years earlier after his birth in Peru, IN. Wilson shares Porter's delight at wealth and sophistication as well as his underlying distrust of it. She is an ideal interpreter of songs that explore the top and the bottom, such as "Mr. & Missus Fitch" (which she performs as a duet with her piano accompanist William Roy) and "Miss Otis Regrets." Although most of the songs on the album are well known, she has a special affinity for one of the obscurities, "Queen of Terre Haute." Relying only on Roy's piano and her own voice, Wilson emphasizes Porter's wit and wordplay, savoring the lyrics. At 64, she has a limited voice, but she picks her spots to soar or growl, and Porter benefits from her wise, nearly spoken passages, in which the meaning of the lyrics is emphasized. Not surprisingly, the album is an extrapolation of a club act Wilson has been performing; she sounds like she has the material down. And this makes four winners in a row for her with DRG Records.


Born: 21 October 1924 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Vocal

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

Cabaret singer and musical theater star Julie Wilson was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1924, the daughter of Russell Wilson, a coal salesman, and Emily Bennett Wilson, who became a hairdresser. She displayed an interest in theater and music in her youth and began singing with local bands at the age of 14. She enrolled at Omaha University, majoring in drama with a minor in music, but dropped out when she successfully auditioned to replace an ailing performer in a road tour of the musical revue Earl...
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