Bentley’s Bandstand: Patsy Cline, John Pizzarelli

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billbentley110BY BILL BENTLEY

www.sonicboomers.com

Patsy Cline, Sweet Dreams: The Complete Decca Masters 1960-1963, Hip-O Select Records

Lock up all the firearms in the house, hide the sleeping pills, cut up the ropes, throw away the knives and razor blades and have 911 on speed dial if you play this staggering two-disc set incessantly. Because you just might not be able to hold up against the crushing heartbreak of Patsy Cline’s sheer sadness. It is that strong. Song after song—from “I Fall to Pieces” to “I’ll Sail My Ship Alone”—pour from this collection as if some genie of despair is hiding within, making sure every emotion of elusive or lost love is mined for all it’s worth. Cline’s voice is a tower of trepidation, making romance seem like a fatal battlefield only a fool would dare enter. The way she wrings our tear ducts dry is like a wonder of nature. This woman was never really a country singer; she just happened to make her recordings in Nashville. Producer extraordinaire Owen Bradley obviously knew this too. He added string sections and backing singers with such deft elegance the session’s sound coated with a fine silk sheen, allowing Patsy Cline’s unlimited soul to soar straight from the studio into our hearts. There are 51 reasons here to worship the ground this woman walked on. Pick any one for a ticket to the crying time. Hell, even the odd happy song on this set will have you reaching for the ripcord, because there is no escape from the pain Cline knows too well. When her plane went down in 1963, she was only 30 years old. By the measure of her music, she had already reached the mountaintop.

John Pizzarelli, Rockin’ In Rhythm, Telarc Records

If you are going to pay tribute to a single musician, you could not choose a more worthy candidate than Duke Ellington. He just may be the greatest American composer of all-time. Ellington had a way of taking the wide-open greatness of his country, the joy of being alive and even the heartache of romance and turning it into a celebration of sound. He wrote songs that still touch us mightily, and probably always will. Jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli wisely chooses a dozen of them and assembles a stellar orchestra to perform them in a way that brings the music to stirring life. “In a Mellow Tone,” “Satin Doll,” “All Too Soon” and all the others reamain stunning, and Pizzarelli uses exquisite taste to make each feel like they were written today. There is such a timeless air to Rockin’ In Rhythm it shows just how the unequaled excellence of Duke Ellington’s creations live on. John Pizzarelli’s guitar and vocals shine a perfect contemporary light on a musician who really should be on Mount Rushmore.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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