Sue Raney

All by Myself

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In 1963, Capitol Records producer Lee Gillette was looking for a way to amp up the singing career of young crooner Sue Raney. Impossibly young when she entered the music business, Raney nevertheless had the talent, looks, and delivery of a star -- she just needed to shake that "little girl" aspect and tap into a more "adult" vein. Gillette tried to secure Stan Kenton as her backing arranger (for the album that would become All by Myself), but when that fell through, Capitol house arranger Ralph Carmichael was brought on board, and he channeled that stabbing, boisterous Kenton vibe to a T. In fact, the arrangements proved so volatile that Raney wondered how she was going to compete. Well, she mostly succeeded. Some tracks (like the explosive opener, "Some of These Days") find Raney struggling to overcome the blasting brass, which all but bury her vocal line. She was not as forceful as Anita O'Day, nor did she have the shrewd phrasing talents of, say, June Christy, but Raney did have a sweet, sweet voice -- maybe not powerful enough to blast through the more bombastic numbers, but on slow burners (like the ├╝ber-sensual "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" or the appropriately melancholy "Here's That Rainy Day") her breathy delivery is stunning. The album's title track is without a doubt the most successful venture here. By peeling away the flash and getting down to an intimate purr, "All By Myself"'s comely arrangement allows Raney to whisper in your ear, which is ultimately the best way she comes across on record.

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