Excelling at the art of blues balladry demands that a musician possess great feeling but also great control. No surprise then, that one of its greatest practitioners, Nancy Wilson, has both traits in abundance. Save Your Love for Me: Nancy Wilson Sings the Great Blues Ballads is one in a loose series of three Capitol compilations to compile her late-'50s and early-'60s prime, the others focusing on the Great American Songbook and the torch song. The title track leads off the set, as it should, considering that Wilson's co-billed collaborative LP with Cannonball Adderley's quintet is the highlight of her career, and no single performance proves it more than this one (both Cannonball's alto and brother Nat's cornet echo her weary yet hopeful tone). The rest of the songs involve a larger band -- excepting two tracks from her only other major quintet collaboration, The Swingin's Mutual! with George Shearing -- but Wilson preserves the late-night feel (helped greatly by the sympathetic charts of Billy May and Mike Melvoin's organ). Throughout her career Nancy Wilson proved her talents in many fields -- jazz singing, ballads, pop music, crossovers -- but she never sounded better than when she was given an unhurried arrangement to stretch out on a slow blues, and any listener who wanted to concentrate only on the essence of Nancy Wilson could hardly do better than purchase this collection.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by John Bush