Lena Horne

Give the Lady What She Wants

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Frank Sinatra pioneered the concept of alternating albums of downtempo torch songs with ones of uptempo love songs, and Lena Horne has now adopted it. Her last studio album, Stormy Weather, pictured her solemn in blue on a largely black LP cover and was filled with ballads about how love can go wrong, exemplified by the title tune, her signature song. Now, a smiling Horne appears in mid-dance step and wearing a red gown on the cover of Give the Lady What She Wants, and that signals a collection of happy love songs. As usual, Horne cherry-picks from among the top songwriters, especially those working in the musical theater, making works written by the likes of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Rodgers & Hart, and Jule Styne her own. Some date back a few years, while Duke Ellington's "You Better Know It" and Styne's "Just in Time" from Bells Are Ringing are fairly recent. Lennie Hayton leads a swinging orchestra in sympathetic arrangements, and Horne authoritatively states the case for love even when she is providing a lesson in feminine thrift with "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" or disingenuously instructing her lover to "Get Out of Town."

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