Keely Smith – Little Girl Blue, Little Girl New (1963/2017)

Keely Smith - Little Girl Blue, Little Girl New (1963/2017)
Artist: Keely Smith
Album: Little Girl Blue, Little Girl New
Genre: Vocal Jazz
Origin: USA
Released: 1963/2017
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Little Girl Blue (3:55)
Here’s That Rainy Day (3:18)
Gone With The Wind (3:11)
Willow Weep For Me (3:49)
I’ll Never Be The Same (3:07)
Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry (2:56)
I’m Gonna Live Till I Die (2:15)
It’s Good To Be Alive (2:37)
A Lot Of Livin’ To Do (2:14)
Once In A Lifetime (2:42)
New Sun In The Sky (1:41)
Blue Skies (2:25)
When You Cry (3:06)
Going Through The Motions (2:58)


Following her split with husband and creative partner Louis Prima, vocalist Keely Smith signed with Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records for a series of finely curated and well-received albums designed to showcase her voice and relaunch her career. The first of these, 1963’s Little Girl Blue/Little Girl New, featured arrangements by Sinatra’s longtime collaborator, the illustrious Nelson Riddle, and was conceptualized in two parts with Side A, “Little Girl Blue,” featuring ballads and Side B, “Little Girl New,” focusing on more upbeat numbers. The result was a tour de force of an album that presented Smith as the solo star she deserved to be — and which Sinatra had known she could be for many years prior. Thankfully, as per all of Sinatra’s Reprise contracts, the artists kept the rights to the master recordings, which is where they remained until Smith struck her own deal with Real Gone Music for a series of reissues, including this 2017 expanded edition of Little Girl Blue/Little Girl New. Though she had recorded solo albums for Dot during her years with Prima, she had been somewhat overshadowed by the kitschy, flamboyant tone (and Grammy-winning success) of their performances, which often found her playing the cheeky straight man to her trumpeter husband’s swing-era clown. Afforded far greater freedom on Sinatra’s label, she was presented on Little Girl Blue/Little Girl New as an urbanely sophisticated hipster and a clarion diva in the mold of such similarly inclined contemporaries as June Christy, Anita O’Day, and Kay Starr. Cuts like her yearning take on “Here’s That Rainy Day” and her languorously sensual reading of “I’ll Never Be the Same Again” reveal her as a mature and knowing performer in contrast to the lighter, more comedic tone of her work with Prima. That said, she can still knock ’em dead as she does on the latter half of the album, her highly resonant voice slicing through uptempo swinger’s like “I’m Gonna Live ’til I Die” and “I’ve Got a Lot of Livin’ to Do.” Ultimately, listening to Smith and her pointed yet dusky, golden-toned voice pouring out of Riddle’s shimmering, sky-blue arrangements, one can easily see why Sinatra jumped at the chance to work with her.
Review by Matt Collar