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by Paul Du Noyer
Mojo
March 2000

Sooner or later most singers must wonder if they cut it compared to those golden-throated canaries of yesteryear. For the sinbger-songwriter there is an extra challenge: how would their material measure up to the Rodgers and the Harts? Joni tackles standards once the preserve of Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, suavely pitching two of her own creations - the 1967 title track and Blue's A Case of You - into the reckoning. Let it be said the results knock George Michael's recent effort into a pre-war trilby hat. Vocals wreathed in grey-blue cigarette smoke, she follows the arc of a love affair in 12 exquisitely sequenced episodes, from the first flirtatious tingle (1933's You're My Thrill) to intoxication (A Case of You) and, by way of Stormy Weather, to the ambivalent resolution: "I don't really know love at all". And in her maturity those old songs of hers - delivered in lower, slower tones now - are closer than ever to the terrain that great performers occupy.

 

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