Monday, February 9, 2009

Sarah Vaughan - "Send In the Clowns" (1974, Mainstream)

Art Director : "Don't worry Sarah, you'll look great!"

A post for the Shad Shack, cheeba's temple to all-things-Mainstream Records.

After an uncharacteristic four year break from recording, Sarah Vaughan began an association in 1971 with Bob Shad's new label, Mainstream Records - he'd worked with her during her time at Mercury Records.

First cab off the rank was the album "A Time In My Life", produced and arranged by Count Basie veteran Ernie Wilkins, and featuring a fantastic version of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" - also check a preview here. Generally, that album's a nice mix of classic pop-jazz orchestration with some "band" elements thrown in, including the occasional rhodes. The Wilkins version of "On Thinking It Over" from there, written by Brian Auger, also re-appears on today's album.

She followed that in 1972 with "Sarah Vaughan", a collaboration with Michel Legrand and his orchestra. It's a more traditional ballad collection with some superb string arangements from Legrand. 1973 saw the release of "Feelin' Good", which I've finally ripped and will throw at you when I get the cover scans fixed up - it has several different arrangers and is overall a better album than this one.

After a few live albums for Mainstream, her final studio release for the label was this one, 1974's "Send In The Clowns". Possible confusion : she released another album under the same title for Pablo Records in 1981, and later also used the title for a greatest hits collection - but this is the 1974 Mainstream release.

Primary arranger here is Gene Page, whose work with Barry White and Love Unlimited was exploding into the charts at the time. You can echoes of that work in the simple, unison-based string arrangements and backing vocals, though the disco beat is absent - there's more elements of a blues-based southern soul.

AMG's Scott Yanow calls this album ...
... which Google's "Yanow Interpreter" translates as "contains pop/soul elements and some electric instrumentation - and there's that damned rhodes again!". Essentially this is an early 70s pop/soul album with some jazz stylings - you've just got to look at it from a different perspective to her earlier work.

Anyway - not an all-killer-no-filler, there are a few absolute stinkers, but enough good moments to recommend checking it out. "That'll Be Johnny" and "On Thinking It Over" are the standouts for me. "I Need You More" has a Fifth Dimension flavour that I like, and arranger Michel Legrand returns with an arrangement of Jobim's "Wave".

Later in 1974, Vaughan's then-lover/manager (I need one of those!) Marshall Fisher apparently had a fight with Mainstream Records over a record cover (this one??) and/or unpaid royalties, and Vaughan remained without a record contract for a further three years, until she signed with Pablo Records in 1977 and dumped Fisher.

This is a rip from a deleted CD re-release with a much nastier cover even than the one above, and it's remarkably short of information, but I've gathered what I can below.


TRACKLIST1. 'Send in the Clowns'
(Stephen Sondheim)
2. 'Love Don't Live Here Anymore'
(Rose Marie McCoy / Reddington)

3. 'That'll Be Johnny'
(H.Miller / Rose Marie McCoy)

4. 'Right in the Next Room'
(H.Miller / Rose Marie McCoy)

5. 'I Need You More (Than Ever Now)
(H.Miller / Rose Marie McCoy /Holley)
6. 'On Thinking It Over'
(Brian Auger / J.Mullen)
7. 'Do Away With April'
(H.Miller / H.Greenfield)
8. 'Wave'
(A.C. Jobim)
9. 'Got to Go See If I Can't Get Daddy to Come Back Home'
(H.Miller / Rose Marie McCoy)
10. 'Frasier (The Sensuous Lion)'
(Johnny Mercer / Jimmy Rowles)

PRODUCTION INFORMATIONReleased in 1974, Mainstream Records MRL 412
Produced by Bob Shad
Arranger on 2-5, 7, 9 - Gene Page
Arranger on 1 - P.Griffin
Arranger on 6 : Ernie Wilkins
Arranger on 8 : Michel Legrand
Arranger on 10 : Wade Marcus


Rip by
Other links in this post go to : The Shad Shack, Daytime Lovers, Crap jazz Covers and Blaxploitation Jive.
Please thank these fine folks for their music if you go there.

Some info sourced from Michael Minn's Sarah Vaughan biography.



cheeba said...

Thanks Simon!

This isn't nearly as bad as the cover had led me to believe! In addition to the tracks you cited I'm also ejoying "Frasier (The Sensuous Lion)"

One question though...."nastier" cover on the CD you say? How is that even possible?

blackclassical said...

cheeba it is... simon you know what to do with it :)

ish said...

Thanks Simon. For the entertaining read as well as the music!

The cover is shocking. She's like the archetype for the Insane Clown Posse.

JTF said...

what a cover! said...

Thanks a lot, Simon. Not as good as "A Time In My Life" (which I am entirely in love with), but some of the tracks are nice. I am looking forward to the "Feelin' Good" album.


soulbrotha said...

Thanks Simon. I remember this album cover well. Scared the bejesus out of me! It would be many years later that I found out that was actually HER! Lawd ham mercy jeebus, Sarah. What were you THINKING??!!

Simon666 said...

heya soulbrotha :)
... and what was she drinking ??

Panama Red said...

Crazy, so crazy thank you so much for this. I love your blog.

catacaldos said...

Greeeeeat.Thanks a lot

troods said...

Wonderful, Sassy on Mainstream. Thank you so much. Love this album. Got linked through shad shack. You are incredibly generous.

Simon666 said...

Glad you're enjoying it troods :)

Olde Edo said...

Just surfing through, but I have to say, that was one of the funniest riffs on an album I have ever read (and informative, too!). A case could be made that your description of the album (and the little sidebar explaining the Scott Yanow interpreter) is more entertaining than the album itself. Thanks for that uplifting moment :)

Deebes said...

The songwriter for songs 2,3,4,5 and 9 should be listed as Rose Marie McCoy; not Robert McCoy. Rose Marie McCoy (born April 19, 1922, Oneida, Arkansas) was one of the most influential and prolific songwriters of the 1950s and 1960s.

Simon666 said...

Thanks Deebes, corrections made!