Wendy Coates has had a rich and varied career, having appeared in national and regional theater productions, in film, and in cabaret. For this, her first album, she has opted for a varied set of tunes that have their genesis in pop, folk, country, and the musical stage. Even though the material comes from different genres, everything shares one common feature, describing events that define the gamut of human emotion. "Lullaby" is a sweet story of happiness. "Summer Before the War" tells of simple times just before World War II started, while "Slipping Through My Fingers" catalogs the mixed emotion a mother feels when her children go off to school, leaving the roost for the first time. Then there's the eternal hope that life is good, embodied in "I Believe in You." "Stolen Child" describes the anguish and helplessness the singer experienced when her nephew disappeared during a hiking trip. Coates delivers these and the rest of the tunes with typical cabaret intensity and sincerity. She has a light and sweet voice, which she shapes to fit the sense of each tale told through the lyrics of the song she's singing. Unlike many of her cabaret singer contemporaries who load their albums with armies of background singers and instrumentation, real or electronically created, Coates follows the tradition established by such masters of the genre as Elisabeth Welch by using just a piano for accompaniment. Christopher Denny fills that chair with distinction. If you're interested in songs that describe a wide collection of human events, this album fills that bill.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan