It’s nice to see that classy
singers are still appreciated by those who produce some of the great re-issue material available today.
Harlem-born Gloria Lynne is still performing after an absence of many years. The vocalist was one of a rare breed. Gloria was able to cross seamlessly back and forth between the borders of jazz and "pop." In her era, the late fifties to mid sixties, she closely paralleled such people as Nancy Wilson, Ketty Lester, Kitty White and Pam Garner. While Nancy Wilson maintained her popularity, Gloria Lynne and the others did their best to carry a smaller, but loyal following. The original vinyl Greatest Hits
disk was drawn from various Everest albums of the early 1960s. The new CD version duplicates the LP and adds a few more tunes to the mix.
Empire Musicwerks enlisted the help of Bill Dahl who penned some most enlightening liner notes. There is very little information about Gloria Lynne on the worldwide web and I was happy that I had kept my vinyl copies for almost 40 years. Bandleader and Everest records owner Raymond Scott discovered the singer. Although Gloria had won an Amateur Night at the Apollo
in her teens, she didn’t record until the late 1950s. Sadly, even Ralph Cooper’s fine book on the Apollo years gives Lynne only passing mention and a photo. During the mid 50’s, the young singer toured with The Dorsey Sisters
under the wing of veteran bandleader and Decca artist, Lucky Millinder and opening for Ella Fitzgerald. Bill Dahl’s notes made me aware that Gloria had indeed recorded a single on Ember records in 1956. The tunes were Cool Daddy
but were issued under the name of Gloria Lynn without the "E."
Happily, the new CD shows the singer at her very best. From the very jazzy sides, June Night
, But Not For Me
and I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
with Sweets Edison, Eddie Costa, Sam Taylor and Wild Bill Davis to the sophisticated Jimmy Jones tracks, Gloria Lynne is at center stage. Whether the song is a tender ballad or something dramatic like her version of Stella By Starlight
, the listener will not miss neither a note nor a word. Lynne is an articulate interpreter of quality material. Her rendition of the Hammerstein-Kern classic, The Folks Who Live On The Hill
is the most memorable version I’ve heard.
Gloria Lynne’s autobiography, "I Wish You Love: A Memoir"
is now out of print but used copies are still available through Amazon’s website. She penned the book with New York writer, Karen Shelton in 2000. Still performing, Gloria is now in her 70s and I’m told she sounds great. As a composer/lyricist, the performer has several tunes listed with BMW and wrote the lyrics for Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man
and Kenny Burrell’s All Day Long
. Greatest Hits
includes some of Gloria Lynne’s most popular numbers such as I’m Glad There Is You
, He Needs Me
and the chart-topping hit I Wish You Love
from 1964. It’s an all- around nice package and recommended.