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I Wanna Be Loved

Dinah Washington

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Album Review

A torch song date recorded between Dinah Washington's commercial breakthrough in 1959 and her death in 1963, I Wanna Be Loved flaunts a large cast of talented collaborators — plus, to be sure, Washington's regal readings of 12 great songs — but, unfortunately, the musical side is overwhelmed by the heavy strings in attendance. Working with Quincy Jones, Washington found her studio cast to include Joe Newman and Clark Terry on trumpet, Jimmy Cleveland and Kai Winding on trombone, and Al Cohn on tenor. However, the arrangements (from Ernie Wilkins and Quincy Jones) rarely leave room for the musicians — and, in fact, rarely feature them at all — preferring instead to concentrate on strings and the occasional wordless vocal chorus. As usually happened in these circumstances, Washington appears unfazed by the treacle surrounding her; although she doesn't improvise, her performances of "Blue Gardenia," "Don't Explain," and the title track (originally an R&B hit for her 12 years earlier) are elegant and bewitching. The larger big band makes its presence felt on the two side-closers, both of them ("Let's Fall in Love," "Sometimes I'm Happy") more uptempo material. Although Washington's latter-day Mercury material is often derided, she always succeeded despite her surroundings, and this date is no different.

Customer Reviews

An amazing album

A great re-release. An awesome collection of songs.

Who's that girl?

The review above is correct in noting the instrument-heavy arrangements here. Remember that Quincy Jones was enjoying his early success as an arranger of instrumentals (Stockholm Sweetnin', etc...) He may have overdone it a bit creating a musical throne for the Queen Dinah. But what a grand and glorious throne it is! The mix and cacophony of sound is indicative of an era when the entire orchestra sat in the studio together and created this very big, very human, masterpiece. Dinah rises above it all with her usual sly delivery and instant charm. Washington fans will not be disappointed.

One question: Why did Mercury chose to put a picture of a random white model on the album jacket? Did people think that's what Dinah looked like? I can understand putting models on instrumental albums (Ray Conniff, etc...). But Dinah was a vocalist with so much personality and a real presence. I hope the old executives that decided to do this back in 1962 (assuming they are still living) have to answer to Dinah personally when they get to the pearly gates!

Biography

Born: August 29, 1924 in Tuscaloosa, AL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

Dinah Washington was at once one of the most beloved and controversial singers of the mid-20th century — beloved to her fans, devotees, and fellow singers; controversial to critics who still accuse her of selling out her art to commerce and bad taste. Her principal sin, apparently, was to cultivate a distinctive vocal style that was at home in all kinds of music, be it R&B, blues, jazz, middle of the road pop — and she probably would have made a fine gospel or country singer had she...
Full Bio

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