Wednesday, January 23, 2008

from: Swing Journal (Japan) December 2007

click to enlarge and read - - English translation below

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Swing Journal review in English

Like a jack-in-the box, it's always fun to see what pops up from the Sinatra Society of Japan Presents series. Indeed, the series comes up with albums that are so fascinating. One of these two extremely rare recordings is "Half Past Lonely" by Flo Bennett, a singer who worked as a club performer in Los Angeles as well as a demo singer. Even now she is active in Palm Springs as a performer. Nevertheless, she was not given the opportunity of a legitimate recording despite the fact that she was in such demand among songwriters for demo work. Consequently, she recorded only one album which was produced by herself and mostly given to friends. The album was recorded in 1962. And now, voila, here it is available in the marketplace as a Sinatra Society One Shot Wonder. A very important aspect of the album is that Bennett asked songwriters of her acquaintace to provide most of the music. She then added a few standards. Also playing a big part are the talents of such musicians as Plas Johnson and Irving Ashby. Bennett sings rather straightforwardly with a slightly husky voice in an emotional style that is most mesmerizing. Her singing is quite convincing causing me truly fall in love with her voice.

Male vocalist Dick Noel was a mainstay of Ray Anthony's band. After leaving Anthony he released a few singles with several minor labels. But after moving to Chicago he gained a reputation as a singer for jingles, including numerous ones for United Airlines and MacDonald's, thus losing the opportunity to record on his own. This One Shot Wonder CD, "A Time for Love," was recorded in 1978 when a pianist Larry Novak, recognizing the talent of Dick, brought him into the studio to produce the album on their own in Chicago. It is believed to have sold 5,000- 6,000 copies. Later, label owner and producer Wayne Knight, who liked the album, released the record on his label, Sounds Great. The new release had a slight change of repertoire (liner notes for this issue were written by Knight's good friend, Mel Torme). With the accompaniment of just Novak's piano, Noel sings ballads with well-controlled emotion---no haste---in a quiet, soothing manner. The end results are quite incredible. I would like to hear more and more of Dick Noel. ---Y. Omura, translated from the Japanese by J.
Both are available at

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Reviews and comments re: SSJ's new release, "A Time for Love" by Dick Noel

From Rex Reed:
I am not sure I can adequately express the ecstasy I feel listening to Dick Noel. Who/what/where/whatever happened to. . .Many questions under familiar headings flood my mind and make me want to hear more. The phrasing, the sensitivity, the perfect modulations, the clarity and intelligence, the goosebumps his timbre produces...I think he is out of this world. Liner notes by Mel Torme, no less.

by Makoto Goto
(English translation below)

 あのメル・トーメが、ふらりと立ち寄ったスタジオで聴いた、無名の男性歌手。彼の歌があまりにも素晴らしいので、感激のあまりトーメが「ぜひライナーを僕に書かせて欲しい」と頼み込んだアルバムがあります。 「ぜひライナーを書かせて欲しい」というのは、(私のような)売れない音楽評論家が営業活動する際の常套句ですが、メル・トーメは売れない音楽評論家ではありません。超売れっ子のシンガーです。だから、わざわざお仕事くださいと「営業」するわけがありません。 《この無名歌手の素晴らしさをきちんと伝えられるのは、自分しかいない》と、トーメは大きな決断をしたのだと思います。こんなライナーです。

締めくくりのWelcome back, Dick.というキメの言葉が、かっこいいですよね。私だったら、こうは書けません。

translation by J:
"Let Me Write the liner notes for this album": Mel Torme
This is the album, by a rather obscure male vocalist, that Mel Torme---Yes, THAT Mel Torme---asked to write the liner notes for when he heard his voice for the first time. He had popped by the studio where work was being done on it and was so greatly moved by what he heard that he said, "Please let me write the liner notes." It is commonplace for a writer, such as myself, who is not mainstream to make a request like this. In the process, the writer also benefits. However, Mel Torme is not a noted critic, but rather a very popular singer. Therefore, this writing would not benefit him in any way. Torme must have decided to do this with a strong belief that "I am the only person who can accurately tell the world how wonderful this rather unknown singer is."
(see liner notes above)
The concluding sentence, "Welcome back, Dick," is so kakkoii (Japanese for "cool.)