Jeri Southern

Jeri Southern Meets Cole Porter

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As one of the supreme students (and teachers) of American popular song, Jeri Southern was properly prepared to shine on the full album of Cole Porter songs she recorded in 1959. But instead of floating the usual batch of Porter standards, she dug deeper into the catalog for several forgotten nuggets. (This wasn't simply a lack of satisfaction in singing the songs that everyone sang; her melancholic airs weren't particularly suited to relatively contented material like "From This Moment On," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Anything Goes," or "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To.") Arranger Billy May conforms to Southern's gifts, keeping the charts smooth and string-filled instead of brassy, except when the mood calls for a swing tune like "Let's Fly Away." Southern appears to be near the height of her powers, wringing the melodrama from "Get Out of Town" or "I Concentrate on You." Jeri Southern Meets Cole Porter could have been a real classic if Southern had chosen a few other of Porter's overlooked torch songs, such as "Down in the Depths (On the Ninetieth Floor)" or "Just One of Those Things" or "So Near and Yet So Far," any of which would have suited her skills at the jilted lover yearning for past romance.

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