Beatrice Kay

The Naughty Nineties

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After the bout of laryngitis that left her with a slight rasp in her voice and derailed her career as a "serious" musician, Beatrice Kay turned to musical comedy. The Naughty Nineties shows that while she may not have been able to reach the notes required for Broadway shows of the time, she more than makes up for any vocal deficiency by the character and phrasing she brings to her interpretations of popular music of the 1890s. This is especially helpful for someone who is new to this material, given the changes in society in the hundred years prior to this album's release. Some of the songs that were shockingly salacious when they were written sound amusingly naïve to a modern audience, and without Ms. Kay's vocal cues listeners might not realize the double meanings and saucy undertones. The choice of material here is solid, and the orchestra, under the direction of Ray Bloch, gives energetic support without being intrusive. Beatrice Kay sounds confident, sassy, and playful throughout the recording; when she sings, "My voice may sound funny/But it's making me good money," in "I Don't Care," it's easy to believe she meant every word of it.

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