Nancy Wilson

Gentle Is My Love

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Nancy Wilson had scored four consecutive Top Ten studio LPs (Yesterday's Love Songs/Today's Blues; Today, Tomorrow, Forever; How Glad I Am; Today -- My Way), and Capitol Records might have been pushing things a bit by releasing Gentle Is My Love less than three months after its predecessor. But that was a marketing question, not a quality issue. As the album's title suggests, Gentle Is My Love is a collection of romantic ballads that Wilson addresses with her characteristic emotionalism and precision. The arrangements are full of lush string parts, and the tempos are taken deliberately. It is striking that Wilson sings a number of then-recent standards, starting with "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)" from the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint -- The Smell of the Crowd, that had been performed by others (especially men) as soaring, heroic anthems, and instead takes them down to more intimate, reflective ballads. This is also true of "More" (the theme from the film Mondo Cane), for instance, and of "If Ever I Would Leave You" from the musical Camelot. The latter may be associated with Robert Goulet's manly baritone, but for Wilson it is rendered with feminine feeling and sincerity. Not all the songs on the album are memorable as compositions, but whatever the quality of the material, Wilson gives each song a thorough workout. Gentle Is My Love may have been released while Today -- My Way was still high in the charts, but it deserved its own moment in the sun.

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