Joni James

When I Fall in Love...

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Joni James, like Johnny Mathis and Barbra Streisand, was a serious, respectable pop vocalist committed to the adult-oriented album format and the American songbook. As a result, her albums tended to be more conceptually realized and artfully executed than the typical hits-and-filler packages of the time. James owns her MGM masters and licensed them to Taragon for a series of album reissues that includes this album of love songs from 1955. David Terry, who also worked with Vic Damone, provides the subtle, string-laden orchestrations on a dozen songs that include such well-known tunes as "To Each His Own," "People Will Say We're in Love," and "I'm in the Mood for Love." James' style is both accomplished and approachable, as if the girl next door happened to be an incredible vocalist. There's an almost conversational quality to her performances, which are refreshingly free of the bombast that less sensitive singers often bring to similar material. The reissue of When I Fall in Love... includes three bonus tracks conducted by James' husband, Anthony Acquaviva. The bonus tracks are in keeping with the theme of the album, but the arrangement of "Tender and True" is quite different; with its acoustic guitar and harmonica, it's easy to imagine James singing this cut around a campfire, or as the pop "girl singer" in a singing cowboy movie.

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