Ernestine Anderson

Ballad Essentials

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by Paul De Barros

No doubt because of her bluesy signature tune, "Never Make Your Move Too Soon," vocalist Ernestine Anderson has been typecast as a home-fried, worldy-wise vampster, and there's no question that this Houston-born songbird can get down with the best of them. But Anderson always has strived for sophisticated elegance, as well, her initial inspiration being Sarah Vaughan. With perfect intonation and a voice Seattle contemporary Quincy Jones once described as sounding like "honey at dusk," Anderson often succeeds. On this collection of ballads, pulled from eight albums made for Concord with top of the line pianists between 1979 and 1990, she often hits the mark. Anderson offers a touching delivery of "Old Folks," a liberally improvised "Skylark" (recorded live, with a chirping alto saxophone solo by Marshal Royal), a sassy, swinging "Tain't Nobody's Bizness if I Do," an expressive "Body and Soul," and a piquant "Some Other Time." (These last two come from the lovely 1998 album with piano giant George Shearing, A Perfect Match.) Elsewhere, Anderson's attention seems to drift -- a problem that plagues her live shows, as well. "Time After Time" (by Sammy Cahn, not Cyndi Lauper), with Monty Alexander, is short on conviction; a soggy "Spring Is Here" misses the song's winsome irony; "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," with saxophonist Red Holloway greasing its bluesy wheels, gets excessive; and "I Remember Clifford" (also with Shearing) lacks pathos, which is odd, considering that it is a requiem. "Wait Till You See Him," from the awful album Boogie Down, is gummed up with Hollywood pretension (cello, bass clarinet, and English horn); "I Should Care," with vocal reverb; and "Summertime" -- well, what do you do with this warhorse? Even Anderson doesn't seem to have an answer. Die-hard Anderson fans may find enough to like here, but others will probably want to stick to albums such as Hello, Like Before and Never Make Your Move Too Soon.

blue highlight denotes track pick