Bonnie Guitar

Moonlight and Shadows

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Bonnie Guitar's first LP was designed to capitalize on the success of her recording of "Dark Moon," each of the 12 songs refers to the Moon in its title and lyrics. So it's a concept album of sorts, and it is, more importantly, a superb pop effort, showcasing the artist's singing and the male vocal accompaniment. But it will hardly illuminate the guitar side of the artist's output; one does get hints of her instrument's significance on "Carolina Moon," but the emphasis here, as on the rest of the album, is on singing. She's not bad in that department, either, and as a representative of a smooth pop style, this album would be difficult to outdo. Guitar's singing is expressive and her approach sometimes veers toward a bluesy country style that could appeal to rock & roll listeners (check out her version of "Shine on Harvest Moon") and country audiences. How well the whole album holds up for modern listeners is problematic, but in the 1950s, this was money in the bank to Dot Records, and the lean, stripped down instrumental sound is fascinating to hear today as representative of a forgotten corner of '50s pop music, Guitar backed by little more than a quintet (bass, drums, piano, her own guitar, and maybe a flute or reed instrument).

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