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‘Sarah Vaughan’s Golden Hits’ Shines Again On New Vinyl Editions

The 12-track collection will be available in both black and gold vinyl options.

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Sarah Vaughan Golden Hits

Verve/UMe will release the 1961 compilation Sarah Vaughan’s Golden Hits on vinyl on 30 August. The 12-track collection will be available in both black and gold vinyl options and has been remastered at Capitol Studios from the original analogue tapes.

By the time the retrospective first appeared, the vocal stylist had been thrilling her audiences on record for more than a decade, after debuting with a self-titled set in 1950. Golden Hits showcased the extraordinary breadth of Vaughan’s range and the fluency with innovative bop phrasing and apparently effortless vocal control that inspired Ella Fitzgerald to describe her as “the world’s greatest singing talent.”

The album shows her three-octave contralto span and the inimitable sophistication she brought to such songs as ‘Misty,’ ‘Moonlight In Vermont’ and the scat-inspired ‘Lullaby Of Birdland.’ The collection also features Vaughan’s signature ‘Broken Hearted Melody,’ a No. 7 US pop hit and No. 5 R&B in 1959, and ‘Smooth Operator,’ a No. 8 R&B success the same year.

‘Make Yourself Comfortable’ will be additionally familiar to a modern-day audience from its prominent use in a global commercial campaign for Lincoln Continental, starring Serena Williams. Vaughan’s interpretation of John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf’s ‘Moonlight In Vermont’ gave new life to another perennial jazz favourite.

Vaughan had started to develop her prowess as both vocalist and pianist in her local church choir in Newark, New Jersey in the 1930s. She played in jazz clubs there and in New York before becoming the featured vocalist in the bands of Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine, before she began her solo career. She went on to be nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, shortly before her death in 1990.

Sarah Vaughan’s Golden Hits is released on both black and gold vinyl on 30 August. Scroll down for the tracklisting, and pre-order it here.

Listen-Buy

Side A
1. Misty
2. Broken Hearted Melody
3. Make Yourself Comfortable
4. Autumn In New York
5. Moonlight In Vermont
6. How Important Can It Be

Side B
1. Smooth Operator
2. Whatever Lola Wants
3. Lullaby Of Birdland
4. Eternally
5. Poor Butterfly
6. Close To You

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. caponsacchi

    August 19, 2019 at 3:35 am

    If this selective introduction serves to introduce a new generation to a fuller exploration of Sarah, it can be recommended. For a serious collector, any mix of Sarah’s “hits” should be seen as a daunting restriction on her unequaled creativity as an artist who is best heard in the company of “like minds” and responsive instrumental voices like Jimmy Jones, Roy Haynes and Richard Davis. Only by recognizing the inferior quality of half the material and the challenge of overcoming thickly textured orchestra arrangements is it possible to appreciate Sarah’s ability to make the mundane sound fresh and to strike gold where others woud be weighed down by lead. One of the versions of the “Mr. Kelly’s” album presents Sarah with Jimmy Jones’ Trio and with more than twice as many tracks as the original LP. That’s the one to seek out. But don’t leave the ’50s without Sarah’s transformative performance of a tune titled “Words Can’t Explain.” And don’t stop yet. Sarah simply kept getting better, leading up to her 1985 world tour with little-known pianist, Frank Collet, with whom she reached a level of excellence beyond even her own previous achievements. Perhaps the best testimony is her latter-day performance–on the 2-disc concert set, “in the City of LIghts”–of Tad Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now.” Comparing her first recorded version in the ’40s with her sublime reading of the same song almost 4 decades later is to discover the unapproachable genius of an artist the likes of which we will not see again soon. For those of us increasingy impatient with amateurism and “fame,” her art, like Shakespeare’s and Mozart’s, is better now than ever before.

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