I had never heard of them - cultural and generational differences - We didn't have "glee clubs" in secondary school in Ireland (at least mine didn't) - and had to research them -I picked Connie Francis and Judy Garland with Melissa Manchester close behind.
My bottom three are the Four Freshmen (sound like a high-school glee club), Mandy Patinkin (can't stand his singing voice ), and Jackie Wilson (way over-cooked).
She's in Part Two - This is a three part contest - Each of the three groups needs to be solidly anchored with first-tier talent so that they're evenly balanced. Each group is represented by a "standard" version which is then paired with an assortment of vocalists who provide a performance that is either representative of a particular period style or one that is a unique yet legitimate interpretation of that "standard" version.Ella Fitzgerald strikes me as a glaring omission here. She recorded two albums worth of Harold Arlen songs. But I have to go with the ladies here. I couldn't get through 30 seconds of any of the male singers save Ray Charles.
The Connie Francis arrangement sounds like a 1960 teen heartthrob number so I didn't enjoy it. I don't agree that the Melissa Manchester arrangement killed the song despite the rather dramatic build up. She's a great vocalist who really made me feel the song. That's my number one pick behind the iconic film rendition by Judy Garland.
Duh? Sorry about that. I went straight to the music.She's in Part Two - This is a three part contest
It's cool - Kudos to you for going straight to what matters the most - the music - I'm grateful for your participation - 🙏Duh? Sorry about that. I went straight to the music.
It inspired me to dig out my Ella Harold Arlen set which I'm playing now.It's cool - Kudos to you for going straight to what matters the most - the music - I'm grateful for your participation - 🙏
@Shaughnessy, dear, you coulda still voted for her!Garland - Bennett - Charles - The Four Freshmen - Francis - Manchester - Patinkin - Wilson
Judy Garland - No one is ever going to be anything but a very distant third place - There is no "Second place" - There's Garland in first and everyone else who ever cut this tune in third...
Despite that... I didn't vote for her - Low hanging fruit and I wanted to force myself to take a closer look at the other contestants by giving them a fair hearing without the fear of being overshadowed.
First vote - Connie Francis - Heartbreaking rendition - just devastating in its emotional impact - This is what someone sounds like when they're desperately trying to escape an abusive relationship - To be anywhere other than where they are at that precise moment - I knew she had technique but never suspected a talent for phrasing this well developed.
Second vote - Tony Bennett - Excellent technique - Superb phrasing - There's a wistful - lonely - quality to the tune - almost as if he's in mourning for a lost love and the tune is more of an expression of someday being reunited - if not in this life - then in the next.
Ray Charles - Not as much technique as Bennett - Who does? - but still an impressively expressive rendition - This too, comes across as a song of genuine heartfelt anguish - which was undermined by the choral arrangement - He should have played this one straight and he might have been able to elbow his way past Bennett.
The Four Freshmen - I had no idea who they were or are - Didn't have a clue as to how to judge something so thoroughly out of my wheelhouse - Did the research - They're very well respected - Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys - I can kind of wrap my head around the concept but the execution is such that I couldn't judge them fairly as I have nothing in my background with which to compare them - They were hugely popular - Sold millions of records - They're very inventive - The vocal harmonies are quite intricate - but all I hear are "notes" - well sung notes - but not actual "words" that are intended to mean anything - I willing to concede that I may be completely missing the point on this one.
Melissa Manchester - powerhouse vocalist - thoughtful interpretation - If Connie Francis wasn't in this contest, she would have been able to push her way past Ray Charles and pick up that second vote - She's a fierce competitor - I give her an automatic entry into every competition.
Mandy Patinkin - If you're inclined to cynicism, he can probably come across as a bit twee - If you're not - If you're a genuinely kind-hearted and good-natured, you probably can't help liking this performance far more than you anticipated - It's difficult to get past the mannerisms upon the first listen but if you can steel yourself for a second (or even third) listen, his artistry eventually becomes manifest - Again, another name that I was only somewhat vaguely familiar with but discovered that he's quite an accomplished actor with an impressive resume - Not quite certain how an entire album would play itself out - Not feeling particularly experimental at the moment so that's a question which shall remain hypothetical for the moment.
Jackie Wilson - great set of pipes - thoroughly enjoyed the tune - like him as a vocalist - he's nothing if not dynamic - but thought that he completely - totally - missed the intent of the songwriter - but this is a vocalist whose work would be worth seeking out - As long as "style" meant more than "substance"...
It must be an Irish thing.@Shaughnessy, dear, you coulda still voted for her!