Shirley Bassey

Does Anybody Miss Me

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With total authority and enthusiasm, Shirley Bassey takes the Les Reed/Johnny Worth song "Does Anybody Miss Me?" for her title track, opening this album with the consistency few artists give their audience recording after recording, performance after performance. She's decked out in a somewhat revealing angelic white on the front and back cover and her voice flies over the beautiful Dave Pell production and Artie Butler arrangements with perfection, reflecting the ease of the cover photos. Side one's closer, "I Only Miss Him," seems to add to the intrigue of the Les Reed title track, though it's not as tragic as Vicki Carr's "It Must Be Him"; in this artist's hands the melody becomes a pleasant up-tempo song about love that might come back. The array of songwriters is staggering: an early David Buskin composition, "Never, Never No," Rod McKuen/Henry Mancini's "We" from the Patty Duke film Me, Natalie, and a strong reading of Bacharach/David's "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" from Promises, Promises, including a verse not on Dionne Warwick's hit. Bassey's vocal command and presence simply amazes from LP to LP, and despite how short the songs and album content appear decades after release -- only two songs go over the three-minute mark -- the striking results do not shortchange the fan in the least. "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" is redefined by Bassey; the female perspective of Mel Carter's hit from four years earlier is a bit more coy in some parts, but still gets the message across. The uncredited and appropriate liner notes proclaim that Bassey is "Woman and child co-existing a mere light year above the footlights/tonight...every night." Does Anybody Miss Me? is yet another powerful recording from the diva's diva.

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