Picks and Pans Review: From Bessie to Brazil

updated 08/23/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/23/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Susannah McCorkle

An enticing throatiness wedded to taste and a firm belief in the singer's responsibility to the lyrics—that's McCorkle. This is a rewarding disc from first cut, a marvelously propulsive version of "Love," to last, a quietly passionate "You Go to My Head." In between, McCorkle—while hardly erasing the memory of Bessie Smith—slinks creditably through "Thief in the Night" and serves up a smoky "Accentuate the Positive" that would surely have pleased its lyricist, Johnny Mercer.

One can find fault with McCorkle's interpretation of Antonio Carlos Jobim's demanding "Waters of March"—she runs out of steam almost before she's begun. But not so with Dave Frishberg's impish "Quality Time," which gets just the right sly treatment ("You'll work on your screenplay/ I'll update my résumé...We'll take a seminar in self-hypnosis/ so we can learn to slop and smell the roses"). It is a special pleasure to hear Rupert Holmes's "The People That You Never Get to Love," which McCorkle recorded on an earlier album and that, 12 years later, has a new layer of maturity and ruefulness. (Concord)

From Our Partners