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JOE WILLIAMS: HERE'S TO LIFE - Ballads for Orchestra

JOE WILLIAMS: HERE'S TO LIFE - Ballads for Orchestra

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On HERE'S TO LIFE, Williams experiments with this "vocal stretching" and credits Bobby McFerrin in the album notes for his inspiration. The result is like listening to a winding country stream. Williams' performances are exquisitely sophisticated and never sentimental. The recording concentrates on ballads, including Williams' heartbreakingly beautiful "Here's to Life"-which later inspired Shirley Horn to record the song with a similar arrangement-and the testimonial "What a Wonderful World." The whole work has the feel of Billie Holiday's legendary LADY IN SATIN album, without the vocal raggedness and as seen from the point of view of an optimist. LIFE is a masterpiece of song interpretation of a different kind.

Personnel: Joe Williams (vocals); Louis Stewart (guitar); Hugh Webb (harp); Liz Edwards, Belinda Bunt, Trevor Williams , Michael Berrow, Madeleine Whitelaw, Rachel Cohen, John Ronayne, Raymond Keenlyside, Diana Cummings, Raymond Cohen, Jonathan Strange, Celia Sheen, Homi Kanga, Gillian Cohen, Roy Wilson, Roger Garland (violin); John Underwood , Kenneth Essex, Michael Ponder (viola); Keith Harvey, Denis Vigay, Anthony Pleeth (cello); Dennis Walton, Peter Hughes , Tommy Whittle, Roy Willox (woodwinds); Paul Pritchard, John Rooke, John Pigneguy (French horn); Bill Geldard, Christopher Dean, Don Lusher (trombone); Laurie Holloway (piano, celesta); George Shearing (piano); Jack Parnell (drums).

Here's to Life
What a Wonderful World
When I Fall in Love
I Found a Million Dollar Baby (In a Five and Ten Cent Store)
If I Had You
Maybe September
Save That Time for Me
Young and Foolish
I Didn't Know About You
Little Sir Echo
Someone You've Loved
A Time for Love
Here's to Life - (George Shearing, piano)

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