Sue Raney

When Your Lover Has Gone/Songs for a Raney Day

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In the late '50s and early '60s, Capitol Records had two leading jazz-oriented pop singers on its roster -- June Christy and Peggy Lee -- and then added another young singer, Sue Raney. Raney cut a few albums which seemed to quickly disappear, never to be heard from again until now. EMI/Capitol UK) reprises two of Raney's Capitol albums on a single CD, the 1958 release When Your Lover Has Gone and the 1960 album Songs for a Raney Day. On the former, Raney is supported by the estimable Nelson Riddle, whose arrangements and orchestrations have graced the recordings of many of the top singers of the last four decades (among the more notable, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra). The second album, Songs for a Raney Day, was cut under the leadership of another Hollywood music icon, Billy May. His arrangements on this album are much softer than the blaring brass a la the discs he cut with Sinatra and Anita O'Day. This is a gentler, softer May, appropriate for an album of songs that capture the essence and moods of rainy weather. Although very young when these sessions were recorded, there's more than a hint of the consummate artistry that was to characterize Raney's singing over the next 40 years. The style, diction and appreciation for good melodies which became a staple of Raney's albums are already evident, and each album has well-known standards. But there are songs penned by composers not often recorded, like Ann Ronell's "Rain on the Roof," a reminder that Ronell did much more than "Willow Weep for Me." Unfortunately, the promise created by these two albums never quite materialized. Raney, despite her outstanding recordings, never entered studios with the frequency commensurate with her talent, which doesn't say much for the music business. On a happier note, UK Capitol is to be commended for inaugurating this "two for" series (which includes Jeri Southern, Nancy Wilson, Julie London, Kay Starr and Bobby Darin).

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