Culled from the private collection of the versatile Betty Johnson, and released as the fourth volume of the "Take Five Sessions," these 30 tracks were recorded in the late 1950s and feature the vocalist fronting the Metropolitan Jazz Quartet for non-commercial radio show broadcast to members of the U.S. Marine Corps. The very short tracks (averaging just over a minute apiece) feature Johnson singing melodies from standards and Broadway tunes in her gorgeous, inimitable style. Johnson is one of the unsung deans of American song, a vocalist whose clear, sensual sound melts hearts with its utter simplicity and soothing sound. Her renditions of classics such as "You Made Me Love You," "Everybody Loves a Lover," "Sometimes I'm Happy," and "I'll Be Seeing You" are sung with a seemingly effortless gracefulness and purity to which a slight vibrato adds a lovely touch. She sings each song with the lyrics in mind, and in an appealingly relaxed manner. Unfortunately, the short recording times for each track leave neither Johnson nor her solid quartet with much time to expand on the melodies. Too, the total recording time is unconscionably kept to less than 40 minutes despite the treasure trove of additional material that Johnson harbors and might have included. Nonetheless, this is a fine sampler of the vocalist's output from the period, and a rare glimpse at a selection from her private collection, offering more than a hint at her tremendous talent. Oddly, the cover of the recording -- produced by Johnson's label, Bliss Tavern Records -- misidentifies the year of release and mistakenly states that the tracks were previously released on Bell Records.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy