Originally released in December of 1963, Yesterday's Love Songs/Today's Blues was the eighth in a long series of albums Nancy Wilson was to make for Capitol Records over a period of 20 years. During that time, she became one of the label's most artistically and commercially successful artists. The album was also made during the time when major recording companies were turning out sessions featuring black female singers with a gospel and/or blues background, singing standards and pop hits backed by a large orchestra, usually with strings. Columbia Records had Aretha Franklin, Everest used Gloria Lynne, and Capitol, Nancy Wilson. Here, teamed with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra and his arrangements, Wilson wends her way through 17 standards and traditional pop songs with a good balance between ballads and up-tempo numbers. Wilson's aggregation is loaded with many of the day's top West Coast players. Trumpeters Al Porcino and Carmell Jones are especially prominent, with Jones soloing on "The Song Is You." Harold Land's tenor provides the backdrop for "Satin Doll." On the last four tracks, Wilson is accompanied by just a rhythm section featuring Wild Bill Davis on organ and Joe Pass on guitar. Wilson and Davis combine to do a swinging R&B-tinged "West Coast Blues" and "My Sweet Thing," the album's highlights. In between these two cuts is the cloying "Tell Me the Truth," originally issued on a 45 EP and aimed at the female teenaged market of the time.
Yesterday's Love Songs/Today's Blues Review
by Dave Nathan