Grapefruit Moon: The Songs of Tom Waits is Southside's tribute to one of his favorite songwriters, but also a pet sound: big band music. The idea to marry the brassy, ballsy sound of a big band to Tom Waits' cinematic, character-driven songs has been sitting in the back of Southside's mind for sometime.
This CD presents the brief but remarkable output of songs by Duparc during his artistic period that was cut short by a nervous affliction. These works are beautifully performed by mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker and baritone Thomas Allen, with sensitive piano accompaniment by Roger Vignoles. The collection opens with Duparc's best known melody, L'invitation au voyage, which is a setting of a text from Baudelaire's Les fleurs du mal. The lovely rolling impressionist piano harmonies are played with exquisite fluidity, as they underscore Walker's velvety and intimate vocals. The Sérénade florentine is an impressionist lullaby to a loved one, delivered with touching emotion by Thomas Allen. Extase, Elégie and Testament show the influence of Wagner, and the Chanson triste is one of Duparc's early, Gounod-style songs. Au pays oú se fait la guerre (1869) is also an early work, but is particularly entrancing with simple modal harmonies and easily perceived song construction. By sensitive use of passing tones in the piano, the harmonies are subtly redefined and the music is extended dramatically toward the end by expressive on-rushes.
Songs of Leonard Cohen is the debut album by Canadian folk singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released in December 1967 on Columbia Records. Less successful in the US than in Europe, Songs of Leonard Cohen foreshadowed the kind of chart success Cohen would go on to achieve. It reached number 83 on the Billboard 200 and achieving gold status in the US only in 1989, but peaked at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart, and spent nearly a year and a half on it. Songs of Leonard Cohen was released on CD in 1989, while a digipak edition was released in some European countries in 2003. A remastered version, with the bonus tracks "Store Room" and "Blessed is the Memory," was released in the United States on April 24, 2007.
There are almost more Petula Clark collections than there were actual songs (that's saying something), and Sanctuary's three-disc Songs of My Life: The Essential Petula Clark is one of the better ones. Split into three themes, "Swinging Times," "Mellow Moods," and "Beautiful Sounds," Songs of My Life relies heavily on the English pop sensation's peak '60s and '70s output. All of the key radio hits are here ("Downtown," "I Know a Place," "My Love," "This Is My Song"), as well as countless ballads, uptempo pop gems, and choice covers. Fans looking for a decent career overview (sadly, none of Clark's vast arsenal of French hits are here) may find the 78 tracks that populate Songs of My Life a bit overwhelming, but they're well worth spending some quality time alone with.