I Wish You Love

Keely Smith

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I Wish You Love Review

by Lindsay Planer

Although known primarily as one-time partner and wife to Louis Prima (vocals), Keely Smith (vocals) also had a measurable amount of success on her own. I Wish You Love was not only the title of her debut long-player, it quickly became one of her signature pieces as well. By the end of the 1950s, the team of Prima and Smith were among the hottest tickets along the burgeoning Los Vegas and Atlantic City gambling strips. The buzz of their perpetually packed houses and high energy stage show garnered them recording contracts at Capitol both as a duo as well as respective solo artists. On stage, Smith's sweet, inviting, and intimate tone was a perfect contrast to Prima's often bombastic delivery. That same cosy quality is at the heart of the 11 performances on this disc. No doubt the mood enhancing arrangements of the great Nelson Riddle didn't hurt either. While torch songs/ballads became her trademark as a soloist, Smith's sumptuous prowl through "When Day Is Done," and the happy-go-lucky mid-tempo romp of "When Your Lover Has Gone" proves her mettle as an intuitive jazz interpreter as well. Other examples range from the subtle give-and-take she brings to her sensitive reading of "Imagination," to the breezy "Don't Take Your Love from Me," which bops along with an Edie Adams' like effervescence. Smith would go on to collaborate with Billy May on Politely! (1958), and reunite with Riddle on Swingin' Pretty (1959). In 2003, Collectors' Choice Music issued I Wish You Love on CD with an additional half-a-dozen bonus tracks, including an alternate version of the title composition as well as four other sides cut during her very first demo sessions in April of 1956.

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