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First Night

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Album Review

On her debut album, New York cabaret singer Jane Olivor suggested a bridge between the traditional pop singers who had been marginalized by rock & roll and the folk-rock singer/songwriters of the late '60s and early '70s. Often seeming to be willfully holding back tears with her throbbing voice and precise intonation, she turned "My First Night Alone Without You," rendered with wry, bluesy understatement only a year earlier by Bonnie Raitt on her Home Plate album, into a full-blown torch anthem. When she essayed more familiar material, such as the Fleetwoods' "Come Softly to Me," Don McLean's "Vincent," and "Some Enchanted Evening" from the Broadway musical South Pacific, she and arranger Lee Holdridge boldly rewrote the melodies to give the songs a smoother linear flow, making them more appropriate to her emotive approach. ("Some Enchanted Evening" composer Richard Rodgers, for one, reportedly was not pleased with the result, though the track gave Olivor her first chart entry.) But she was best suited to light pop, such as "Morning, Noon and Nighttime" and "Better Days (Looks as Though We're Doing Somethin' Right)," the latter co-written by her fellow cabaret veteran Melissa Manchester with Carole Bayer Sager. Along with Manchester, Barry Manilow, Peter Allen, and others, Olivor seemed at the start of her career to be creating a new form of light pop music that plumbed the complex emotional depths first investigated by confessional singer/songwriters, yet employed a sophistication associated with an earlier generation of singers. It may have turned out to be a musical style that thrived only in the hothouse atmosphere of city boîtes, but for a while this looked like the birth of a new form of American art songs, and Jane Olivor was one of its leading advocates on her first record.

Customer Reviews

First Night - Jane Olivor

Jane Olivor remains one of the finest NY cabaret singers alive. Her voice is unique, haunting and wonderful. The only sad thing is that, as far as I know, she no longer performs or creates music. We, who were there in the 1970's in NY, miss her and hope whatever she is doing, she is happy. I would give my eye teeth to see her in concert again. You will love this and all of her other albums.

Incomparable Cabaret Singer

This collection has brought me so many hours of listening pleasure I was so delighted to find it on ITunes. It is a Master Class for anyone interested in cabaret performance. And yet it speaks volumes to everyday life and lessons. Her voice is as good as Streisand in her heyday and her phrasing talents are in a class with Piaf and Holliday. Thanks ITunes for the depth of your collection.


Jers has stated it well! Jane Olivor's voice and phrasing actually "recreates" songs which are considered standards...she somehow truly lifts them to an "otherworldly realm." Olivor's "Some Enchanted Evening" is breathtaking; and the same may be said of "Vincent." This entire album will bring you years of enjoyment.


Born: 1947 in New York, NY

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Jane Cohen from Brooklyn, NY, remade herself into French-style cabaret singer Jane Olivor in the downtown Manhattan club scene of the early '70s. Employing an emphatic style that reminded some listeners of French chanteuse Edith Piaf and others of fellow Brooklynite Barbra Streisand, Olivor built a following among gay men and other fans of traditional pop, transforming songs like "Some Enchanted Evening" from the Broadway musical South Pacific and the Fleetwoods' 1959 hit "Come Softly to Me" into...
Full Bio
First Night, Jane Olivor
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Vocal
  • Released: 1976

Customer Ratings