Polly Bergen

All Alone by the Telephone

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All Alone by the Telephone pairs Polly Bergen with arranger Luther Henderson to create a deeply melancholy song cycle that explores romantic estrangement and isolation from a refreshingly adult perspective. Bergen's dusky, world-weary vocals never resort to histrionics, finding their mode of expression in restraint, not release -- her thoughtful interpretations of material like "Glad to Be Unhappy," "Too Late Now," and "By Myself" strip the songs to their core, articulating their themes of loss with hard-fought maturity. Henderson's sympathetic, meticulous arrangements are no less essential to the album's uncommon sophistication.