Friday, May 6, 2011

Holly Cole - Blame It on My Youth

Holly Cole's debut recording is a delight. Although she infuses a variety of standards with sensuality (including "If I Were a Bell," "On the Street Where You Live," "Honeysuckle Rose" and "I'll Be Seeing You"), she is also clearly laughing at her image at the same time. Joined by pianist Aaron Davis and bassist David Piltch with guest appearances by violinist Johnny Frigo (on two songs) and bass clarinetist Robert Stevenson (for one), Cole's interpretations of the mostly veteran material are both haunting and ironic, making this a memorable and surprisingly original outing. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Before Holly turned her interpretative skills to material by Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, and the Beatles, the Holly Cole Trio (with David Piltch on bass and Aaron Davis on piano) performed mostly standards, but performing classics didn't stop their knack for turning songs inside out. Oldies like "If I Were a Bell" and "Honeysuckle Rose" get irresistibly swinging arrangements with a delightfully unorthodox fiddle, "Smile" is given a stark pop edge, and "Trust in Me," from "The Jungle Book," is given a bossa-nova-inspired treatment. Holly's gift for pop vocals are used to perfection on "Calling You," now one of her signature tunes, and Tom Waits contributed a new composition, the lush and jazzy "Purple Avenue." The strongest moment? Holly turns the sweet "The Street Where You Live" from "My Fair Lady" into a dark and haunting narrative (Holly has said in interviews that this song always seemed to her like the story of a stalker). The unique intro and always flawless vocal inspires chills with every listen. The weakest moment? Well, it depends on your mood, but the ultra-slow arrangement and drunken slurr of a vocal on "I'll Be Seeing You" can occasionally be a difficult listen. It's a small price to pay, however, on a collection as original and polished as this. - by John Jones,

Artist: Holly Cole Trio
Album: Blame It on My Youth
Year: 1991
Label: Manhattan (1992)
Runtime: 38:06

1.  Trust in Me (Richard Sherman/Robert Sherman) 3:23
2.  I'm Gonna Laugh You Right out of My Life (Joseph McCarthy/Cy Coleman) 2:37
3.  If I Were a Bell (Frank Loesser) 2:17
4.  Smile (Charlie Chaplin/John Turner/Geoff Parsons) 4:13
5.  Purple Avenue (Tom Waits) 3:58
6.  Calling You (Bob Telson) 4:38
7.  God Will (Lyle Lovett) 3:11
8.  On the Street Where You Live (Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe) 5:33
9.  Honeysuckle Rose (Andy Razaf/Thomas Waller) 2:20
10.  I'll Be Seeing You (Sammy Fain/Irving Kahal) 5:53

Holly Cole (Vocals)
Aaron Davis (Piano)
David Piltch (Double Bass)
Johnny Frigo (Violin) - 3,9
Robert W. Stevenson (Bass Clarinet) - 8


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