For her second album, Joan Barry joins husband Carl Barry and other good New York musicians on a mixed agenda of familiar and not-so-familiar material. Generally, there are two musical scenarios in this album. The first has Joan Barry backed by a small group with Carl Barry's guitar in the lead. For upbeat material, the Barrys are joined by a variety of horns, synthesizer, and so on. Joan Barry's voice is powerful, but she controls it nicely. Because she is the mistress of a considerable set of pipes, she is able to bring the appropriate set of emotions to the ballads and then swing mightily on the up-tempo material. There's lots of solid help here, led by the cleanly plucked guitar of Carl Barry, which takes on the role the piano usually plays in vocal accompaniment. Another important contributor is Michael Morreale, who's on four tracks and was the mainstay with Joe Jackson for several years. His high-flying trumpet with John Clay's palpitating drums drive a swooping, sweeping, scatting Joan Barry on a wild "My Favorite Things." In stark contrast is her almost Elizabethan music rendition of "My Funny Valentine," with Carl Barry's lute like guitar being the principal instrumental chaperone. "Empty Faces" has Joan Barry in duet with herself through the magic of dubbing. Interesting, but it doesn't add much to this uninteresting piece of music. The star once more is Morreale, this time on flugelhorn. A special treat is the appearance of guitarist Jack Wilkins on "Alone in the World." This album is attractive not only because of Joan Barry's poise and absolute confidence in her ability to make songs sound new, or at least refreshed, but because she was wise to allot plenty of playing space for the good sidemen on this session. Recommended.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan