Joe Williams

Music for Lovers

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The Music for Lovers series from EMI and Blue Note spotlights the balladic nature and romantic side of artists who have recorded for its associated labels. Joe Williams, of course, was a superb ballad singer whose rich voice and patient interpretations usually brought a maximum of feeling to the standards he sang. His Music for Lovers volume includes songs from three sessions for the EMI-owned Roulette -- all but one from either 1959 or 1961 -- and it features Williams in a comfortable setting with musicians who knew how to swing the Joe Williams way; two of the tops, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison and tenor Ben Webster, join him on the highlights, "I Only Have Eyes for You" and "You Are Too Beautiful." Most of Williams' sessions for Roulette were supplemented by strings, so virtually all of these songs are as polished and glossy as any setting he ever recorded in. One other caveat: Williams recorded only a small amount for Roulette, and it's not regarded as well as his work for Verve or RCA.

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